Maryland women’s basketball cruises past Holy Cross, advance to second round of NCAA Tournament

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland vs Holy Cross

COLLEGE PARK, MD – Eliza Pinzan knocked down a two-pointer within the fourth quarter and on her way back in transition, Meyers flashed Pinzan a thumbs-up in response to her shot.

Maryland battled hard in its first game of the NCAA tournament, winning 93-61, and moving on to the second round against Arizona. 

 No. 2 Maryland faced the 15th-seeded Holy Cross in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships. The Maryland-Crusader matchup took place at the XFINITY Center Friday at 2:30 p.m.

The Terrapins’ played aggressively throughout the game, sticking with a full-court press and using the height difference to its advantage. 

“I love the start. We were ready to play, we were locked in, and we came out defensively, forcing a lot of turnovers with our defense, holding  Holy Cross to four points in that [first] quarter,” Coach Brenda Frese said. “So excited to be moving on and understand that as you continue on in the tournament, you gotta be that much better… love the way that we came out today.”

The game was in favor of the Terrapins right off the bat. Diamond Miller won the jump ball, allowing Terrapin Faith Masonius to score the game’s first basket. Masonius continued to impact the court, ending the game with ten points. 

“You can see how much we missed Faith last year. She’s the glue player, the unsung hero… and I loved being able to see her initiate the start for us on the defensive end ” Coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought Faith set the tone, I love the fact that she was right there on the defensive end with the three steals.”

The Terrapins broke away from the Crusaders using a 14-0 run, elapsing almost six minutes of the first quarter. Holy Cross Mary-Elizabeth Donnelly broke Maryland’s run with a two-point basket.

The attempted alley-oop by Abby Meyers and Shyanne Sellers did not complete, but Meyers stepped up to the charity stripe, knocking down both shots. Despite having a rocky start, Meyers bounced back with an under-the-basket hook shot – widening the gap and giving the first quarter to Maryland. 

Meyers continued playing confidently in the second quarter, scoring back-to-back jumpers, a three-pointer, and a two-point shot.

“We have so many weapons on this team, especially Diamond right; she gets to the middle, gets to the paint, everyone collapses on her, and I have a wide-open shot, so I have to do less work to make my shots and credit to the people on the court with me,” Meyers said. “They make my life easier.”

The home team scored 37 points off the 24 turnovers from the Crusaders, expanding the score further.

Five Maryland players left the court with double digits, and every Maryland player that saw the court scored, including freshman Ava Sciolla. Sciolla made the last field goal of the game, finishing the matchup with a good jumper.

Brinae Alexander made quite the impression for her first NCAA game. She ended with 18 points and six rebounds and showed tenacious effort in the fourth quarter. 

“It was a pretty important game and again, to be able to have Brinae in her first NCAA Tournament game, I loved her response coming in with just a ton of confidence,” Frese said. “So we need her to be able to shoot the ball and you can see that level of toughness.” 

Alexander went for the shot at the block, missed, got her rebound and made it to the charity stripe where she knocked down both shots. 

“I tried to get some looks in the paint just to see where the ball’s going because if I miss my first shot, it’s kind of easy to be like ‘dang’,” Alexander said. “But I’ve been getting looks to the basket, getting looks off of offensive rebounds or even just easy looks in the paint.”

The Crusaders were led by Addisyn Cross with eight points, Simone Foreman had 13 points and Lindsay Berger with six rebounds.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Holy Cross Flanagan made a three, beating the shot clock violation. 

The first half concluded; Maryland led 52-24 to the Crusaders.

“We do have a lot of lethal weapons on his team and that definitely makes us hard to guard and hard to scout as well because you can’t just shut down one player,” Brinae Alexander said. “And I think we do really well with playing that inside out.”

Maryland ended its first NCAA tournament game with 21 assists, 13 steals, 44 points in the paint, 19 fast break points, four blocks, and 12 turnovers.

The Terrapins’ defensive abilities shined in the game, with 35 rebounds while keeping the Crusaders to 24 points in the paint. The home team came out early with an aggressive defensive press to help set the tone.

“We hadn’t played a game in a couple of weeks. So we’re always able to set that tone on the defensive end. I did feel like we know our length and our athleticism. We were going to be able to kind of set that tone on the defensive end,” Frese said. “So you just love the aggressiveness. And you could tell that yesterday in practice that we were going to be ready to play.”

Maryland will face No. 7 Arizona on Sunday.