Women’s Basketball falls to No. 14 Indiana in regular season finale

With just over three minutes remaining in the first half of Sunday afternoon’s showdown between Maryland (17-12, 9-9) and No.14 Indiana (24-4, 15-3) at Assembly Hall, Bri Mcdaniel collected a steal near midcourt and pushed the ball to the basket for what appeared to be an easy layup. 

McDaniel’s short-range try, however, didn’t fall. The Hoosiers then collected the rebound and pushed the ball up the floor, where they found sharp-shooting guard Sara Scalia on the wing. Maryland’s Shyanne Sellers rushed over to Scalia in an effort to contest her three-point attempt but by the time Sellers had noticed, it was already too late.

Scalia’s triple found the bottom of the net, capping off an empathic 20-2 run that started at the end of the first quarter. The sequence of play as a whole was also a microcosm of the first half, as Maryland fell behind on Sunday and could never seem to recover during a frustrating 71-54 loss in Bloomington. 

“They’re undefeated [at home] for a reason,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese, who had high praise for Indiana’s performance. “[We’ve] got to throw this one away and come out better in the BIG 10 tournament, because if you come out and have a night like this you’re gonna be going home.”

The Terps found themselves in a 16-2 hole after just over four minutes of play thanks to a scoring barrage from Scalia and Yarden Garzon. The hot-handed duo tallied 11 of those 16 points for the Hoosiers, as Scalia was finding space for easy twos and Garzon was draining open looks from three. 

Garzon finished the first half with 12 points on 4-8 shooting (all four of her makes were three-pointers) while Scalia had 14 points on 5-7 shooting, and was 3-5 from three-point land. Scalia and Garzon would later finish the game with 19 and 17 points respectively. 

“I feel like we didn’t disrupt [Indiana] as much as we needed to, to make them feel uncomfortable,” said Sellers. “I feel like the times that we did disrupt [them], good things happened, [like] turnovers [and] charges.” 

Even though the Hoosiers shot the lights out during the first two quarters, much of the first-half futility for Maryland was self-inflicted, particularly on the offensive end. Put simply, the shots weren’t falling from anywhere. 

In the first half of their game against Indiana back in January, Maryland shot a quaint, yet efficient, two for two from three in the first half. On Sunday, the Terps again made two threes in the first half – both of which came from Jakia Brown-Turner – but this time around they attempted 11. 

Brinae Alexander has been the best three-point shooter for Maryland this season but was 0-4 from behind the arc in the first half.  

“It’s hard when you don’t have other shooters out there to create the space that you need on your offense,” said Frese. “We’ve got to do a better job of … attacking to be able to get more … collapses with the defense to be able to get some kick outs to [Alexander].”

As for the area under the basket – where Maryland has done the majority of its offensive work this season – the Terps missed 12 of their 17 attempted layups in the first half, and a decent portion of those misses came on open looks.  

“We just gotta make layups,” said Brown-Turner in regards to Maryland’s offensive struggles today. “It was just difficult making layups today, but we’ll get it together.”

Sellers also added, “Just making layups, I feel like that would’ve helped the bleeding a little bit. I felt like we left a lot of points … in the paint.”       

The lone bright spot for Maryland during the opening 20 minutes was a 12-0 run in the middle of the first quarter, which allowed the Terps to turn their early 16-2 deficit into a two-point game. But unfortunately for Maryland, Sunday’s contest never got any closer.  

In a fairly mundane second half, the biggest story surrounded an injury to Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes. With the third quarter winding down, Holmes took an awkward landing after going up for a layup. The All-American center came up limping with what appeared to be a left knee injury, and she was taken to the Hoosier locker room because of it. 

Holmes would later return to the Indiana bench – walking without any assistance – with just over a minute left in the game.      

As for Maryland, the Terps managed to weather the storm to an extent by holding the Hoosiers to 16 points in both the third and fourth quarters. Conversely, though, they had just 15 points in both of those frames and were never able to put together a run on offense to take advantage of the somewhat improved defensive play.  

Despite the loss though, Brown-Turner, McDaniel, and Sellers all finished with double-digit point totals. Brown-Turner also pulled down 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season.

With the book closed on the BIG 10 regular season, Maryland will now turn its attention to postseason play. The Terps’ next game is set to take place at some point on Thursday, from the Target Center in Minneapolis, but their game time and opponent are still up in the air.

“I think the biggest thing for us is forgetting everything,” said Sellers. “They don’t call it March Madness for no reason. Anything can happen and I don’t feel like we’re too far out.” 

The Terps await the result of the game between Michigan (17-12, 8-9) and Purdue (12-16, 5-12), which tips off at 7 p.m. EST. If the Wolverines win, then Maryland will be the eighth seed and play Illinois (14-14, 8-10) – a team they’ve already beaten twice this season – at 12:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. However, if Michigan loses then Maryland will remain the seventh seed and play tenth-seeded Purdue – whom they also defeated the lone time the two teams met this season – at 6:30 p.m. EST on Thursday.     

“This is a prideful locker room and it’s a team that has fought all season long,” said Frese of her squad. “I expect that they’ll come back out on a mission and [be] ready to play.”