The eighth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team has had an excruciating tendency for missing layups this season, and on Sunday afternoon, that failing along with careless ball security and inefficiency from the free throw line contributed to a 76-74 loss to No. 6 Miami before 11,008 at Comcast Center.
The Hurricanes went ahead for good, 73-72, with 39 seconds to play on senior forward Sylvia Bullock's jumper from the left side. Maryland had a chance to regain the lead, which it had held from midway through the first half until two minutes remained in the game, but senior guard Anjale Barrett missed a short jumper.
Terps junior forward Tianna Hawkins collected the rebound and passed to Laurin Mincy, but the sophomore guard missed a 3-pointer, and senior guard Shenise Johnson made two free throws to give Miami a 75-72 lead with 23 seconds to go.
Maryland senior center Lynetta Kizer missed a pair of layups over the next 11 seconds before Miami senior guard Riquna Williams made the second of two fouls shots with eight seconds to play that all but sealed the result.
The Terps (21-4, 8-4) missed six layups and seven free throws in the second half and committed 21 turnovers overall in losing for the fourth consecutive time to Miami, which got a career-high 26 points from junior guard Stefanie Yderstrom. Maryland had a three-game winning streak end, lost to the Hurricanes for the second time in a month and fell to 0-3 against the top to two teams — Miami and Duke — in the ACC.
"The turnovers killed us, especially because we had some late in the game," Barrett said. "I take responsibility for that because as a point guard you're supposed to settle the team down. That last minute or so, they made plays, and we missed a couple of layups here and there, missed a couple free throws I think that ultimately determined the outcome of the game."
Maryland had five players reach double figures, with junior forward Tianna Hawkins logging a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds and Kizer adding 16 points and game-high 12 rebounds. Kizer, though, missed three layups in the final five minutes.
The Terps also got an uncharacteristically flawed performance from ACC leading scorer Alyssa Thomas, who finished with 12 points but had no field goals for the final 26 minutes, 45 seconds. Last season's ACC Rookie of the Year shot 4 of 12 from the field, committed six turnovers and missed 4 of 8 from the line after entering as the leading free shooter in the conference at 88 percent.
"The good thing is those are all things we can control when we go back to practice," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of her team's breakdowns in fundamentals. "It allows us to focus more obviously with free-throw shooting, finishing layups. Again I thought Williams and Johnson and Yderstrom were terrific down the stretch and just made some terrific plays."
That trio combined for 61 of Miami's points, including 15 of 17 from the free-throw line. The Terps, meantime, missed 10 of 30 foul shots overall and in one sequence in the second half missed 5 of 9.
The Hurricanes (22-3, 11-1) got 20 points from Johnson, among the leading candidates for ACC Player of the Year, and 15 points from Williams. Each of those players added seven rebounds.
"I got some special seniors who did some amazing things to end that game," Miami coach Katie Meier said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times