No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball falters in Florida tournament, loses to DePaul

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

“The game of basketball is a game of runs,” Terp guard Faith Masonius said. “When we have the opportunity to get stops and then you know turn them into scores. It’s really important for us to escalate on that and keep our foot on the gas… the first half, we didn’t play our game, and at that point, it was a little too late.”

The undefeated Miami team maintained their status in a close battle against the Terps.

No. 14 Maryland lost to DePaul 76-67 Friday in the inaugural Elevance Health Fort Myers Tip-Off at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena. 

In a heavy foul game, DePaul and Maryland struggled without their star players. Diamond Miller, with three fouls in the third quarter, played only nine minutes in the first half, creating offensive opportunities for the Blue Demons.  

The Terps got sucked into the paint and failed to close out on time – Blue Demons made 11 outside threes, a high against the Terps’ six three-field goal points. Not a great start for the Terps at halftime, averaging 25.7% field goals inside the arc. 

“They’re [DePaul] a great team. I thought they punched first and never looked back. They were the aggressive team the entire time of the game,” Coach Brenda Frese said. “We came to life in the third quarter and made some plays, but they just continued to respond with a lot of great and one plays, and they didn’t even flinch when we were able to cut that lead.”

DePaul kept the pressure high on Miller, forcing her teammates to make more plays. After a slow start in the first quarter, Maryland played with more intensity, and high presses and communicated with one another. A major difference from the first two quarters, but the Blue Demons’ offensive threat continued and was lethal outside the perimeter.

DePaul All-American forward Aneesah Morrow, leads the nation in scoring with an average of 31.5 points per game. Morrow led her team 22 in field goals, with guard Kendall Holmes trailing behind with 14 points. 

“They [DePaul] have tremendous inside-outside game, with Morrow being so aggressive and such a dynamic scorer in so many ways and then their ability,” Coach Brenda Frese said. “ They took 30 threes and shot 37% from the three-point line. Just their ability with their offensive identity to really spread you out on offense.”

Maryland left DePaul players wide open outside of the arc, costing the Terps precious points in the fourth quarter. Diamond Miller finished with three for 12 from the floor after fouling out with 32 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Masonius, coming off an ACL surgery, kept the Blue Demons in check with 12 points from inside the arc and 10 rebounds overall. Masonius had the only field goal until Miller took a stance at the free-throw line making both shots.

Morrow out with four fouls in the fourth quarter gave Terp Gia Cook an open lane, tying the game 52-52 with seven minutes left. Right after Cook’s free throws, Masonius pulled the team ahead with a layup forcing the Blue Demons to call a timeout.

Cook threw up valuable shots against the Blue Demons, closing the gap to 44-41 in the third quarter. Cook’s speed and flexibility while on her feet allowed her to find open pockets and drive the ball.

The Terps struggled all game, shooting just 32.4% from the field and were 6-27 from beyond the arc. Despite five of the Terps scoring doubles, it did not make up for the lack of communication and defensive problems.

“From our end, is continuing to build that chemistry, moving the ball, being able to get more cuts and slips,” Frese said. “Be patient on the offensive end, versus firing the first quick shot that we get.”

Maryland will take on Towson (2-0) Saturday, Nov. 26., at 11:30 a.m.