Heartbreaking Loss against No. 4 South Carolina for the Maryland Terrapins
Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Maryland women’s basketball was no match for the All-American senior forward A’ja Wilson and her dominant Gamecocks.
The 6-foot-5 South Carolina senior had a career-high 32 points on 10-for-19 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds and four blocks. The Terps had no answer as she went to the line 18 times and converted on 12 of those trips.
The Terps lost to South Carolina 94-86, splitting their season record at 1-1.
Wilson showed little to no regard for Frese’s defensive playbook.
“I thought we had a great game plan and they hit every shot to start the game,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously Wilson is a woman amongst girls when she should be in the pros. She’s just that talented. I thought we had a great scout.”
The Terps had trailed by 26 points with over two minutes left in the third quarter but then the nation became well acquainted with sophomore guard Kaila Charles who’s 19-point fourth quarter performance closed the game to just three-points with under a minute left.
However, sophomore guard Tyasha Harris called game for the Gamecocks with a three-point play with 23 seconds left to play to seal it over the No. 15 ranked team in the nation.
Tonight’s game was a true testament of the kind of poise and drive the team has inside of them.
“Most teams would have folded,” Frese said. “Most teams would have put their head down and folded and called it quits. I thought this team showed a lot of fight and a lot of pride to fight to the bitter end.”
Charles had a career-high 31 points--27 of which were manufactured in the second-half alone-- on 8-of-16 and 14-of-15 shooting from the field and charity stripe to go along with 10 rebounds.
Charles credits her coaches and teammates for her performance tonight after overcoming a not so memorable start.
“ I had a slow first half with the foul trouble and I was settling for shots and they just kept encouraging me to attack the basket,” Charles said. “Once I saw I was getting the foul calls, I was finishing, I just had that mentality to start attacking and not keep settling.”
South Carolina came into the game ranked No. 4 according to the Associated Press Top 25 and made their presence felt right from the first quarter. The Gamecocks won the tip off and in the first 20 seconds of the game, Harris, scored the game’s opening basket, a three pointer assisted by Wilson. South Carolina’s consistent shots from the field goal put Maryland in an uncomfortable position starting off the first quarter as the Terps were already down ten points with only four minutes left in the first. Frese stated that the teams that have beaten South Carolina in the past were consistent with their rebounds. Maryland came into the game ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in rebounds the past two years, but unfortunately tonight they couldn’t keep up. The Terps only had 36 rebounds tonight, giving up 5 rebounds to the Gamecocks
Along with the troubling first quarter, the second quarter showed no progression. Their consistent fouls on South Carolina caused them more than ten points. By the end of the night Maryland gave up free-throws attempts which the Gamecocks converted 72.7 percent of. By the end of the game, the Terps had twenty nine personal fouls.
Maryland showed grit in their near-comeback win. Moving with the same energy, they will have another chance at a conference championship in their near future.
The Terps will host Niagara on Nov. 16 at the Xfinity Center before heading on the road for their toughest challenge of the year against No. 21 University of Connecticut on Sunday.