Just three minutes into the game, Terps’ junior guard Shyanne Sellers collected a defensive rebound before accelerating up the court. In a flash, Sellers fired an outlet pass to graduate student Brinae Alexander, who found a wide-open Jakia Brown-Turner on the perimeter. In one swift motion, Brown-Turner elevated, shooting and scoring a three-point bucket.
Maryland’s first points of the day halted an early 7-0 Connecticut run, but the No. 20 Terps couldn’t recover, falling on the road, 80-48, to the No. 8 Huskies.
The Terps came alive both offensively and defensively in the remaining first quarter minutes after Brown-Turner’s triple. In the final seven minutes of the period, Maryland’s swarming pressure forced three UConn turnovers, resulting in more fast-paced transition opportunities for the road team. As the buzzer sounded to end the period, the Terps found themselves down just three points – thanks to late second-chance rebounds and points by Brown-Turner, Sellers, and Lavender Briggs.
Maryland opened the second quarter by playing near-flawless basketball, receiving its first lead of the game just two minutes into the period – courtesy of a dominating 8-2 run to stun UConn.
Then, with five minutes remaining in the quarter, Huskies’ redshirt junior Paige Bueckers jumped to collect a defensive rebound. In an incredible effort, Seller flew down the lane and up from behind, wrestling to obtain the loose ball. But the whistle blew, leaving Maryland’s star guard forced to take a seat on the bench with three early first half fouls.
The Terps fell in a hole after Seller’s departure – watching their lead evaporate as Bueckers led an offensive masterclass to end the half strong for the Huskies. Play after play, the Connecticut guard methodically dribbled around the perimeter before accelerating past Maryland’s defense and into the lane for easy layup opportunities.
Without Sellers, the Terps couldn’t find a rhythm offensively, shooting zero-for-eight and not recording a single field goal in the final five minutes of the quarter.
“We’ve got to find some additional players to be able to help us score the basketball,” stressed head coach Brenda Frese. “But again, that was dictated by how hard [Connecticut] defended us.”
A late triple by Bueckers extended this total momentum switch – providing the guard with 17 points and capping a controlling 24-4 run for the Huskies – as Maryland headed into halftime down 15 points.
“Paige did what All-American [players] do,” Frese emphasized. “She put the team on her back and made play after play…that really hurt us.”
Connecticut lost no momentum to open the third quarter of play, extending its lead to 21 points off huge second-chance looks from Bueckers and senior Aaliyah Edwards.
A late resurgence from Maryland’s defense temporarily stopped the bleeding, as constant deflections and pressure by Brown-Turner, Alexander, and Emily Fisher limited the Huskies to only five points and six turnovers in the final five and a half minutes of the quarter. However, the Terps couldn’t capitalize offensively, also putting up just five points in the same period of time to close out the third quarter.
Maryland’s shooting struggles continued throughout the fourth quarter, as the Terps notched just 12 points in the entire final period of play – off free throws from Sellers and sophomore Bri McDaniel, a triple by Alexander, and layups by McDaniel, Sellers, and freshman Riley Nelson.
A pass from Huskies’ Nika Mühl to a cutting Aubrey Griffin effectively iced the game, as Griffin powered up for an and-one layup before sinking a free throw to extend UConn’s lead to more than 30 points before time expired.
“It was a rough night at the office,” Frese said. “I thought [Connecticut] dictated the entire 40 minutes [of play].”
With the loss, Maryland moves to 1-2 on the season, while holding a 1-8 all-time series record against Connecticut.
“[Watching] film will keep us humble and hungry,” said Frese. “Nothing’s won in November…it’s getting us prepared for conference play and beyond.”
The Terps now travel back home to College Park, where they’ll take on Syracuse (3-0) this Sunday at noon.