With just over nine minutes remaining in the game, graduate student Jakia Brown-Turner boxed out her defender, then jumped up to secure a defensive rebound. In a flash, Brown-Turner accelerated past half court, surveying the defense and firing a quick pass to junior guard Shyanne Sellers. In one swift motion, Sellers caught the ball in stride before rising up to knock down a clutch pull-up jumper.
The bucket sparked a 21-15 Maryland fourth-quarter run that proved crucial, as the Terps held strong to deliver a 68-59 comeback victory over Green Bay in the Cancun Challenge Tournament.
Maryland started out slow to open – shooting 2/12 from the field to begin the game, resulting in just four points in the first six minutes off shots from Sellers and Bri McDaniel. Though the Terps’ swarming defense limited Green Bay to only seven points in the first five minutes, the Phoenix came alive late in the first quarter, taking advantage of Maryland’s shooting woes to lead a 10-2 run to end the period.
More of the same followed throughout the second quarter, as a trio of buckets from Maddy Schreiber and Natalie Andersen extended Green Bay’s lead to as much as eight. However, Maryland went on a late 10-3 run of its own in the final four and a half minutes of the quarter, as a multitude of free throws by Sellers, McDaniel, and Brown-Turner brought Maryland to within one going into the half.
The late first half momentum carried over, as the Terps dominated the glass early in the third quarter – outrebounding the Phoenix 15-7 in the period alone, all while turning defense into offense with constant fast break opportunities.
“We needed every single one of [those rebounds],” said head coach Brenda Frese. “We weren’t shooting the ball well from the field or the three-point line, so I love the mentality of getting on the glass and keeping [Green Bay] to one-and-done shot [opportunities].”
In the final seconds of the quarter, freshman Emily Fisher snagged a defensive rebound off of a missed Green Bay shot. In the blink of an eye, Fisher pushed the ball up court before swinging a pass to an open Sellers. Then, with just two seconds left on the clock, Sellers found freshman Riley Nelson, who proceeded to calmly sink a jumper to beat the third quarter buzzer and provide Maryland with its first lead of the day.
“Riley really gave us a spark in this game,” emphasized Frese. “We’ll just continue to keep building our chemistry [between everyone].”
This late offensive dominance continued into the final period, as the Terps sealed the game and extended their lead to nine – thanks to two pairs of clutch free throws from Sellers (23 pts) and McDaniel (career-high 19 pts).
“[I] just tried to get to the basket and draw fouls,” stressed McDaniel. “I knew that we could get [Green Bay] in foul trouble…[especially] using my quickness as an advantage.”
With the win, Maryland reclaims a .500 record, now moving to 3-3 on the season, while holding a 2-0 all-time series record over Green Bay.
“Just a really good win against a great Green Bay team,” said Frese. “Loved our response today out of the locker room…After a slow start to the first quarter, we were able to put a great 30 minutes together in the last three quarters.”
The Terps’ final game of the Cancun Challenge comes tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., where they’ll take the court once more at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Cancun, Mexico to take on UMass Amherst (1-6).