Column: Maryland was who I thought they were

Oregon's Oti Gildon, left, and Ruthy Hebard, right, apply defense against Maryland's Brionna Jones, center, during the second half of a regional semifinal game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

You need to score more points than the other team to win basketball games. People forget that, and yesterday Maryland forgot that when the lost to No. 10 seed Oregon by a score of 77-63 in the Sweet 16 of the Bridgeport region.

They looked flat against Oregon as they were more focused on the Monday night game instead of the Saturday morning game against the Ducks. Head coach Brenda Frese was unhappy with the No. 3 seed and in recent days complained about how only 100 tickets were made available to Maryland for a regional. Although Maryland is a good team, they are not at the point yet to simply beat teams with talent, as an UConn, Baylor or South Carolina team can.

Many people coming into the tournament including several ESPN personalities had Maryland as a team to dethrone UConn as earlier in the season, they played UConn extremely tough on Dec. 29 in College Park as they lost by only six points In the game, the then No. 4 Terrapins gave the Huskies everything they could muster as senior Brionna Jones had 19 points and 13 rebounds, freshmen Destiny Slocum and Kaila Charles combined for 41.

Maryland is great when they can control the tempo as they thrive on open court turnovers and running up and down the court. During this game sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson played while being sick, which limited the run and gun Huskies, as UConn was still able to win despite Samuelson being sick and despite being on the road. The Ducks were able to force the Terrapins into running their half-court offense to perfection as they held them to only eight fast break points and were outscored 18-17 by Oregon in regards to points off of turnovers.

Was it an off game for Maryland against Oregon and there true selves against UConn? Maybe but after the UConn game and when the NCAA bracket was released I decided to look into the Terrapins to get a better picture of who they were

Maryland's Brionna Jones, left, reacts to a foul as Kaila Charles looks on during the second half of a regional semifinal game against Oregon in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

When doing some research and looking at their schedule I found a lack of quality wins as they had two wins over ranked opponents in four tries, as they finished tied atop of a weak Big 10 with Ohio State. Maryland was one of four teams to make the NCAA tournament as Purdue and Ohio State lost to Notre Dame and Michigan State lost to Arizona State in the first round. The Big 10 is the only Power Five conference to not have a team have a No. 1 or No. 2 seed as they had only two teams even nationally ranked.

During the Selection Monday show, the Terrapins showed an outrage at being named a No. 3 seed but in reflection the seed represented their performance this season. They were an explosive offensive team, second in country in scoring with 89.3 points per game, but they are a below average defensive team letting up 64.5 points per game. Opposing foes make 5.9 3-pointers per game as they have let up over 65 points 16 times this season and are the 179th ranked team in scoring defense.

In each loss they let up 75 more or more points as Ohio State dropped 98 points on the Terrapins on Feb. 20, 2017, as they have a problem when they play teams who can also play offense. Ohio State is fourth in the nation averaging 85.7 points per game and UConn is third averaging 87.7 points, as Oregon is 58th in the nation with 71.4 points but have averaged 74 in the tournament which was 31st overall as a season average.

The Maryland offense lives and dies by the 3-pointer as they are 11th in three-point field goal percentage shooting 37.4 percent. Unfortunately for them, they ran into Oregon who is fourth in the nation shooting 39 percent from behind the arc. In the Sweet 16 they only took six 3-pointers and made zero, as they shot 45.6 percent from the field but they could not hit from downtown.  Hitting no 3-pointers and committing 21 turnovers is a formula for losing they were due to play one game like this and it happened to come in the Sweet 16.

When the brackets for the NCAA women’s tournament was announced a few Monday’s ago, I will not lie, I was a little nervous when I saw Maryland popped up as the No. 3 seed but as discussed they were an overrated team that relied too heavily on shooting. I was smart enough to bet an In-n-Out burger on the game and walked away victorious as Maryland proved their one-dimensional nature and the fact that they struggle against top-flight offenses.

For the second straight season it was not an UConn, a Baylor, a South Carolina or Notre Dame that knocked the Terrapins out but it was a Pac-12 team who defeated them out before the Elite 8. What a takeaway from this season looking at Maryland is that they were a very good team but not a great team and they need to recognize this if they are going to enjoy tournament success as they need to focus less beating the best and focus more on beating themselves.


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.