IU women’s basketball walked away from the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland, just four points short of defeating No. 12 Maryland in a 84-80 loss Monday night.
The Terrapins quickly took control of the game and led 10-0 within the first two minutes of the first quarter. Senior guard Ali Patberg placed the Hoosiers on the scoreboard after three minutes of play by drawing an and-1 and sinking her free-throw. Maryland came out aggressive on both ends of the court making 50% of their 3-pointers, pressing at half-court defense, double-teaming the ball and forcing IU turnovers.
The Hoosiers struggled to find their footing in the first quarter and shot 24% from the field, compared to the Terps’ 67%. Maryland led 23-9 after the quarter.
“We knew that we were going to weather some storm,” IU head coach Teri Moren said, “but we did not anticipate that the storm was going to happen right from the jump.”
Junior guard Grace Berger and junior forward Aleksa Gulbe seemed to begin finding a rhythm to put IU back on track, but they ultimately could not close Maryland’s lead. Gulbe answered two of Maryland’s 3-pointers with two of her own back-to-back possessions with under four minutes remaining in the half. Berger had a streak of four field goals and led IU with 10 points by halftime.
Despite such efforts from Berger and Gulbe, the Terps closed the second quarter leading 41-29.
“We started doing what we do,” Berger said. “We know we are a great team capable of beating anyone, but it's hard when you are down 10-0 at the beginning. You can’t do that.”
Although the Hoosiers had yet to give the Terps a run for their money, IU started the second half with the same energy that Maryland began the game with. IU went on a 12-2 run within the first three minutes of the third quarter, cutting Maryland’s lead to two points after Berger hit a jumper.
The Hoosiers’ fight, however, was not able to stop Maryland sophomore guard Ashley Owusu who accounted for six points in the last four minutes of the quarter.
Owusu made a last-second jumper that caused senior guard Jaelynn Penn to injure her ankle. Penn was taken off the court and escorted into the locker room on crutches.
“We thought we were going to guard better,” Moren said. “In terms of our preparation and watching who they have played, we thought we would be better at trying to take Owusu away.”
After losing Penn, Berger was able to keep IU afloat by making 6-7 field goals in the heart of the last quarter. Junior guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary accompanied Berger’s run with a 4-5 run of her own after sinking a 3-pointer with four minutes remaining in the game. Shortly after Cardaño-Hillary was also removed from the game with an injury after she was elbowed in the face.
Patberg ended the scoring for IU with a 3-pointer with five seconds left on the clock bringing the score to 80-83.
Berger fouled out of the game after she reached a career and game-high 26 points. Berger also led the team with seven assists and two steals.
In the end, the Hoosiers battled to stay in it, but the Terps’ offense was unmatched. Maryland ended the game shooting 44% from deep and 53% from the field, compared to IU’s 24% from the 3-point line and 45% from the field.
“They aren’t going to walk away quietly,” Moren said of her team’s efforts. “They are always going to fight. That is why I love them so much.”