Texas fought hard for its first Round of 32 win since 2004, but, after a heated back-and-forth match-up with Maryland, the fifth-seeded Longhorns came up 5 points short in a 69-64 loss on fourth-seeded Maryland’s home court.
The game got off to a notably slow start. Strong defensive performances by both teams and poor shooting gave each team just two points at the 15:50 mark of the first half.
Senior guard Chassidy Fussell broke the early draught with a 3-pointer, which set off a shooting spree. Maryland’s Laurin Mincy answered Fussell with a 3-pointer of her own and went on to put up 8 of the Terps’ first 10 points.
Although the Terripans were significantly more accurate from the field than the Longhorns — 41.2 percent to Texas’s 33.3 percent — Texas managed to keep the game close because of its accuracy from the free-throw line. While the Terps made only one free throw, Texas connected on 10 of its 12 attempts.
The score remained tight throughout the first half, and the teams entered halftime tied at 31. Texas kept it close, largely because of its defense on Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas, a three-time ACC player of the year, who was held scoreless in the first half.
But the second half proved to be quite different for Thomas.
Maryland’s all-time leading scorer made a quick shot from above the key early in the half, and it spurred her to a 16-point performance in the frame, which proved to be the game high.
An easy layup by freshman guard Brianna Taylor slowed the Terps down a little and ignited the Longhorns, so much so that junior guard Krystle Henderson accidentally pushed Taylor to the ground in an attempt to give her a congratulatory shove.
But Texas eventually lost control and allowed Maryland to create a 10-point lead with just over four minutes to go. The Longhorns rallied to within one after a sophomore center Imani McGee-Stafford layup with 1:38 remaining, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
A missed 3-pointer by freshmen forward Nekia Jones in the final seconds allowed Maryland to avoid overtime and sent the Terps into the Sweet 16.