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Maryland gets a win in home-opener

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Maryland gets a win in home-opener

The Maryland Terrapins received an unexpected gift in their attempt to get beyond the post-Kentucky hangover they almost certainly felt after their nationally televised heartbreaker on Friday night. That gift came in the form of the Morehead State Eagles and had nothing to do with any inabilities or incompetence.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

From the very first possession of the game, the Eagles double teamed, rebounded, and hustled their tails off against a young Maryland team playing its first home game of the season. Their efforts simply would not allow Maryland to mail in this game and coast to an easy victory.

That Maryland won this game handily, 67-45, doesn’t really speak to just how hard the Terps had to work for the win. They endured another terrible shooting first half (9-24) by using impressive depth and stifling defense in route to a 35-19 halftime lead. They were bolstered by a 16-22 performance from the free throw line and in that first half and a terrific all-around performance by sophomore center Alex Len who had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and generally made life miserable around the Morehead basket.

In the end, the crowd of 8,724 left energized by the performance they had just witnessed by a Maryland team that had 10 players enjoy double figure minutes. While Nick Faust and Len led the scoring with 12 and 11 points respectively, fans were also able to get a quality sample of a handful of newcomers.

Sophomore Dez Wells was impressive in his home debut and shot 50 percent from the field and was in the middle of several scrums where he inevitably came up with possession of the ball. He finished the game with 8 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds and also finished the game’s signature play when he caught a lob pass in transition in the first half right around the top of the white square and threw down a dunk that had the rim rattling for a good thirty seconds.

Freshmen Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell did what they are supposed to do. Layman hit spot up jumpers and Mitchell grabbed every rebound within the area code. Layman ended up with 7 points and appears to be a credible threat to take pressure off of Len down the road. Mitchell ended up with a team leading 9 rebounds and continues to impress with his both his hands and his motor.

But the biggest impression of the night probably belonged to freshman Shaquille Clear. He will always be compared to his classmate Mitchell and he has struggled in his first two outings as a Terp. In this game, however, he stepped up in a big way. He scored 8 points that included a sterling 5-6 performance from the free throw line. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and had 3 blocks. Except they weren’t just blocks.

Evidently the big fella never heard of the legend of Bill Russell and how he used to block shots to himself to start fast breaks. Instead, Cleare appears to be interested in seeing exactly which section of the Comcast Center he might be able to send the ball to. Each one of his shots actually landed in the lap of various fans in attendance. And each one was greeted with the same sort of “did you just see that?” look from the students sitting close to the floor.

Next up for the Terps are the Blackbirds from Long Island University. The first game of the season resulted in a three point loss to this same Morehead State team. They are a regular NCAA tournament team and love to play at pace. That, in and of itself, will offer Maryland another challenge.

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Maryland upset by Oregon, 77-63

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Maryland upset by Oregon, 77-63

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Sabrina Ionescu led five Oregon players in double figures with 21 points and the tenth-seeded Ducks continued their improbable run through the NCAA Tournament with a 77-63 upset win over third-seeded Maryland.

Fellow freshman Ruthy Hebard added 16 points for the Ducks (23-13), who beat second-seeded Duke in the second round and advance to the first regional final in program history.

Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each had 16 points for Maryland, which finishes the season at 32-3.

The Maryland offense, which averages more than 90 points a game to lead the nation, was held to its lowest point total this season

Oregon coach Kelly Graves said before the game that his young team that starts three freshmen may not know it is not supposed to be winning. The Ducks became the second No. 10 seed to advance to a regional final, joining the 1991 Lamar team.

Oregon led by nine points at halftime and made seven straight shots late in the third quarter to extend that to 59-45.

A steal and basket by Walker-Kimbrough cut the lead to 69-63 with just over minutes left, capping an 8-0 Maryland run. But Ionescu answered with a basket and the Terps were called for an offense foul on the other end, ending the threat.

The Terps, who average more than six 3-pointers a game, were 0-for-6 from behind the arc.

Maryland missed its first five shots and the game's first basket didn't come for more than three minutes, a short jumper by Oregon's Hebard.

Ionescu had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in the first 20 minutes. She finished with seven assists and six rebounds. The Terps were able to stay close in the first half thanks to Brionna Jones, who had 10 points and seven rebounds before the break.

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Maryland women heading to the Sweet Sixteen with back-to-back routs

Maryland women heading to the Sweet Sixteen with back-to-back routs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Maryland was already enjoying a heck of a second quarter when Destiny Slocum scrambled in position to take a buzzer-beating shot.

Squaring up from just outside the opposite arc, Slocum stretched both arms behind her head and let the ball fly.

Swish!

Slocum's 70-foot shot capped a pivotal run, and the Terrapins blew past West Virginia 83-56 Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Brionna Jones had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Slocum scored 21 and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 19 for third-seeded Maryland (32-3), which will next face the winner of Monday's game between No. 2 seed Duke and Oregon.

The Terrapins will be hard-pressed to play better than they did in this one.

"On a scale of 1 to 100, today was 100," coach Brenda Frese said.

Teana Muldrow led West Virginia (24-11) with 16 points. Leading scorer Tynice Martin was limited to 10 points on 3 of 18 shooting.

The game turned in the second quarter, when Maryland outscored West Virginia 26-8 to take a 38-24 lead. After opening with a 23-4 surge, the Terrapins gave up two straight baskets -- the last with 4 seconds left -- before Slocum connected.

"Why not?" Slocum said. "Just throw it up and see what happens. Watching that thing was crazy. I was in shock . am still."

The 5-foot-7 freshman was immediately swarmed by her teammates while the fans in Maryland's home arena stood and cheered.

"That's her range," Walker-Kimbrough said. "I was surprised she made it, but a part of me wasn't."

The unlikely basket capped a 10-minute stretch in which Maryland made 12 of 17 shots.

"What they shoot in that quarter 70 percent?" West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. "Believe me, that shot didn't hurt us anymore than any of the other shots they (made)."

Actually, it did.

"It was a tough shot to see," Muldrow said. "But we can't really do anything about that except try not to let her get the ball at that time. She caught it, and it was one in a trillion."

Maryland carried the momentum into the third quarter, using a 12-1 spurt to build the margin to 23 points. Not long after that, the Big Ten champions celebrated a victory that thrust them into the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in six years.

Last season, Maryland lost its second round game at home to Washington. Intent upon avoiding a similar fate, the Terrapins left nothing to chance.

"This team definitely has a different feel than a season ago," Frese said. "You can feel their focus in terms of what we're doing."

West Virginia took a five-game winning streak into the contest, including an upset of Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament championship. On this day, however, the Mountaineers were no match for a Maryland squad that entered the NCAA Tournament with a surly attitude.

The Terrapins were displeased after the selection committee saddled it with a No. 3 seed because of a perceived weak non-conference schedule. To voice their displeasure, they opened with a 42-point win over Bucknell before easily dispatching West Virginia.

Maryland trailed 16-12 after a first quarter in which it missed 13 of 18 shots from the floor and were outrebounded 14-11.

The tone shifted dramatically at the outset of the second period. Walker-Kimbrough drilled a 3-pointer and added a fast-break layup, Jones bulled her way in the lane for two baskets and Slocum popped a jumper for a 23-16 lead.

West Virginia went scoreless for more than six minutes before Kristina King ended the drought with a jumper.