Despite trailing, 59-36, at the end of the third quarter, the Terps did not give up. They went on a 15-5 run to open up the fourth quarter cutting Stanford’s lead to 64-51.
The Terps continued to climb, cutting the Cardinal lead to 68-59 with 1:41 left after forward Mimi Collins hit a jumper, but the ascent proved to be too lofty. Maryland managed to shave off a strong 26-point lead, but never led over Stanford.
No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball comeback bid ultimately came up short as the Terps fell to No. 1 Stanford, 72-66. The loss marks the second straight Sweet 16 exit for Maryland.
“I loved our fourth quarter,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “The fact that we didn’t quit fighting, we laid it all out there. [For] our returners we’re going to use this time to motivate us to be able to come back even better.”
The Terps started 1-7 from the field before guards Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu scored on back-to-back possessions, but the Terps only shot 18% in the first quarter.
”I thought we were ready, but obviously they came out and punched us first,” forward Chloe Bibby said. “Honestly we just couldn’t put the ball in the hole.”
Meanwhile, Cardinal guard Haley Jones started off hot, scoring eight of her team’s first 10 points while forward Cameron Brink scored eight points in the first quarter.
Near the end of the first quarter, Cardinals forward Francesca Belibi blocked Bibby’s three pointer and then raced down the court for an easy layup to put Stanford up 18-8.
The Terps started to heat up in the second quarter as forward Angel Reese worked inside for her first buckets in the game, but the Cardinals would continue to stretch the lead with their lengthy guard play.
Guard Shyanne Sellers broke Maryland’s almost seven minute field goal drought with a jumper late in the second quarter. The Terps entered halftime trailing 39-23.
Miller continued her streak of hot play in the second half scoring five straight points despite picking up her third foul. Being one of the few energetic Terps on the court, her availability proved crucial, but her inability to stay out of foul trouble was considerable.
The Terps were unable to stop guard Lexie Hull, Brink and Jones as they each scored in double figures and each went on scoring bursts.
Stanford’s length was a problem as the Cardinal registered nine blocks. Five rejections came from Brink and made it difficult for Maryland to score in the first three quarters.
“That length I think you know really bothered us on the offensive end,” Frese said.
Miller’s foul trouble continued, as she picked up her fourth foul midway through the third quarter before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Miller finished with 11 points.
The Terps used a strong fourth quarter outscoring Stanford 30-13 coming all the way back from 26 points down to make the game close at the end.
“It hurts, but I think the better team won today,” Miller said. “These are my teammates and I’m going to stick with them to the very end.”