For the second game in a row, the University of Miami women’s basketball team came just short of knocking off a Top 10 team.
The visiting Hurricanes and eighth-ranked Maryland Terrapins were tied with two minutes to go Thursday night, but the Terrapins pulled away to win 82-74 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Angel Reese led the Terps with 26 points and 15 rebounds and Ashley Owusu added 22. Miami’s top scorer was grad student Kelsey Marshall, who scored 24 points on 7-of-19 shooting with five three pointers.
The Canes were coming off a one-point loss to No. 2 Indiana in a game that went down to the final basket in a tournament in the Bahamas.
Although her team fell short in back-to-back big games, UM coach Katie Meier remained upbeat because she saw breakthrough performances from freshmen and other new players.
“This is why I coach,” Meier said. “I’m not trying to win by 30. I love these games. I love playing on the road. I love playing in the Bahamas. I love playing Top 10 teams. We probably don’t have the street cred right now to be playing this schedule, but after this schedule, you’re going to be talking about Miami, too, because I think we really showed up.”
Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi, a France native who transferred from Syracuse, went 6-of-8 for 13 points off the bench and freshman Lashae Dwyer chipped in 11 points and four rebounds. Karla Erjavec added 13.
Maryland used its size advantage to dominate the boards 48-22. Miami countered with 47 percent three-point shooting (9-of-19) and by forcing 16 turnovers and limiting the Terps to three three-pointers.
One of those Maryland long-range shots proved to be a dagger. Faith Masonius brought down an offensive rebound with the Terps leading 74-72 and kicked the ball out to Katie Benzan on the wing, and she knocked it in to open a 77-72 lead.
“That was a really entertaining basketball game, stylistically it was like the ground war and the war in the air, and obviously Maryland won the high and we were trying to bring the game to the ground,” said Meier. “Our guards should not lead us in rebounding, and they did. Maryland was relentless to the offensive glass.
“Brenda’s fantastic,” Meier said of Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “Whenever we play you see a lot of big-time players coming through for their teammates. At the end of fourth quarter, they stayed really, really calm and did some real smart things. They executed down the stretch, congrats to them.”
Miami dropped to 4-3 and Maryland went to 7-2.