Maryland and its offensive juggernaut are rolling fast and easy into the Sweet 16, getting 19 points from Angel Reese and overwhelming Alabama 100-64 on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Terrapins (27-2) came into the women’s NCAA Tournament with the nation’s highest-scoring offense and have yet to take their foot off the gas. The Terps are averaging 99 points in their two tournament wins after scoring 91.3 per game in the regular season.
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Maryland hit the 100-point mark for the seventh time this season. The Terps also played aggressive, suffocating defense against the seventh-seeded Crimson Tide. Maryland harassed ballhandlers in the backcourt, smothered briefly open shooters and controlled the rebounding.
Jasmine Walker led Alabama (17-10) with 23 points.
The Terps ran out to a 30-9 lead after the first quarter, shot 68% over the first half and scored in every possible way. Mimi Collins scored her team’s first nine points. Maryland made four consecutive 3-pointers and Alabama looked bewildered just trying to find the ball.
By the second quarter, Maryland was pushing the ball inside for Reese, whose power moves and scoop layups in the post propelled a 24-point second quarter that built a 54-25 lead by halftime. Alabama paid for every mistake: Maryland turned 11 turnovers into 18 points in the first half.
Alabama finally showed some life to start the third quarter. Maryland missed its first two shots and consecutive 3-pointers from the Crimson Tide cut the lead to 22.
That was enough for Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who won a national championship in 2006. After Frese called timeout, the ball pressure and quick ball movement returned and a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer from Chloe Bibby had the lead back to 29 in a blur.
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Maryland advances to play the winner of Wednesday night’s matchup between No. 3 UCLA and No. 6 Texas.
FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
Maryland and Alabama squads met in the second round of a tournament for the second time in less than 48 hours, with an opposite result. The second-seeded Alabama men blew out the 10th-seeded Terps 96-77 in Indianapolis on Monday night.
Despite being overwhelmed, the Crimson Tide may be building something in Tuscaloosa. Alabama hadn’t been to the tournament since 1999. Coach Kristy Curry has now taken three programs to the NCAAs, including Purdue and Texas Tech. She led the Boilermakers to the national title game in 2001. She may have some rebuilding to do, as the Tide started three seniors.