South Carolina

Maryland women hold off scrappy Fordham

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The Maryland women’s basketball team, which faltered against leaders South Carolina two days earlier and was looking for a comeback, instead found themselves in a fight with Fordham on Sunday afternoon.

After weathering several upsets from the veteran Rams, the No. 17 Terrapins managed to avoid the rarity of back-to-back non-conference losses. The Terps, who received contributions from across the roster, prevailed 83-76 at Xfinity Center in what senior guard Diamond Miller called an “ugly win.”

“You can see we’re still learning about ourselves and each other,” said coach Brenda Frese. “…We were able to keep our composure and composure through this fourth quarter, but overall we know we can play better and [there are] many lessons to learn.”

Maryland (2-1) led by as much as 14 points in the second quarter, but Fordham (2-1) used a 16-4 run to get 34-33 at halftime. The Terps extended their lead to 15 points in the third quarter before the Rams responded again, this time taking a 59-58 lead in the last minute of the quarter.

After missing Friday’s 81-56 home loss to No. 1 South Carolina with a knee injury, Miller was back in action. Miller hit a crucial three-pointer to end the quarter and give Maryland a 62-59 advantage. After a jumper from senior guard Abby Meyers started fourth in the standings and gave the Terps a five-point lead, their lead never slipped below that number the rest of the way.

“We knew runs were going to happen, but we can’t let that upset us,” Miller said. “We just stayed calm, trusted our offense and defense and helped each other get that ugly win.”

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The veteran Rams stressed denying Maryland’s exterior shots. When the Terps understood that, they trusted each other, moving the ball and attacking downhill. That resulted in five players finishing in double digits.

Miller led with 22 points and had a career-high 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers added 15 points, senior guard/forward Brinae Alexander had 14, senior guard/forward Faith Masonius had 12, and Meyers had 11.

Maryland’s frequent forays into color often resulted in free-throw attempts. The Terps made 23 of 28 tries, including a 13-for-14 show from Miller. Fordham finished 10-11 and only banked nine points to the 30 of the deeper terps.

That helped Maryland despite a rough performance from the Rams, who went 18-11 and fell in the opening round of WNIT last season.

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“There were times when we didn’t share the ball. We were a little bit selfish,” Sellers said. “We pulled together and only spoke positively. Being able to stay on the same page and making sure we stay calm and collected really helped us to move on and just keep going.”

Anna DeWolfe led Fordham with 24 points, including four threes.

Maryland hosts Davidson at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Here’s what else you should know about the victory of the terps:

Rebounds were a weak point for terps. But against Fordham, they brought more intensity to the glass, scoring 47 to Fordham’s 42. Even so, the Rams had 17 offensive rebounds to the Terps’ 10.

“Give up 17 [offensive] Again, I thought it was just a hungry mentality,” Frese said. “…We won’t be able to jump out this year and take advantage of a height advantage. We have to find it some other way. Kudos to this team again, the 28 free throw attempts are ways to negate when you get an outrebound.

In their first two games, the Terps averaged nine threes on 21 attempts. In the first half of Sunday they went 1 for 5 from the Deep. In the second, they showed some vital signs to finish the game 4 for 11.

“It was definitely the game plan,” said Fordham caretaker manager Candice Green. “Get in the fast lane. Anytime someone has the ball, smother them and then hopefully we can have help with any type of drive.

Fordham went 12 for 36 to keep it close.

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