No. 11 Miami hands No. 5 Maryland its first loss
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Maryland's basket-a-minute offense couldn't keep up its customary pace. Too often, the Miami Hurricanes were in the way.
The No. 5-ranked Terrapins found the lane usually clogged, shot poorly from the outside, sputtered in transition and lost Thursday to Miami (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP), 75-63.
It was the Terrapins' lowest-scoring game this season, and the Hurricanes' defense was a big reason.
"They really got after it," forward Alyssa Thomas said. "We knew they were physical and like to put their hands on you and make it tough for you. At times it was hard to get to the basket."
Riquna Williams scored 34 points for the Hurricanes (14-3 overall, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who defeated a top-five team for the first time ever. Maryland (16-1, 3-1) was held 21 points below its scoring average of 84.4 points per game, best in the nation.
The loss was the first for the Terrapins since they were beaten in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.
"We remember how it felt last time," Thomas said. "I know we're going to come back strong."
Thomas had 18 points but committed eight turnovers. Laurin Mincy was held to six points, nearly nine below her average. The Terrapins went 2 for 11 from 3-point range, while Miami shot 13 for 28.
Williams tied a career high by sinking eight 3-pointers, the last coming with two minutes left to put Miami ahead by 11 points.
"The difference was we had no answer for Riquna," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "She was unstoppable. She was definitely in a zone."
The Hurricanes won despite missing 21 consecutive shots in the first half, when they went 10 minutes without a basket to squander an early 12-point lead.
Miami extended its home winning streak to 34 games.
"We know how hard it is to come in here," Frese said. "It's always a tough place to play. You've got to be solid."
Miami won even though Shenise Johnson shot 2 for 15 and had just six points, 10 below her average. That ended her streak of scoring in double figures in 87 consecutive games.
Johnson didn't seem to mind.
"We won. Period," the senior said. "I feel like I'm in some way responsible. This is a great win for our program, and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Williams shot 12 for 24, including 8 for 14 from 3-point range. Stefanie Yderstrom went 4-for-7 beyond the arc and scored 12 points. Morgan Stroman added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Hurricanes, who enjoyed an eight-rebound edge despite Maryland's height advantage.
Miami trailed by seven points early in the second half but regained the lead when a 3-pointer by Williams made it 47-46. She sank back-to-back 3-pointers during a 10-0 run that put the Hurricanes up 64-56 with less than four minutes left.
That prompted her to hop along the sideline as she waved to encourage more cheering from the fans.
"I wanted to let them know, 'You guys are helping us,'" she said. "It was a great emotional feeling, like, 'We want to win, and we're going to go get it.'"
Williams scored 15 points in the first 8½ minutes to help the Hurricanes take a 22-10 lead. They then went cold, and a 15-1 run by the Terrapins put them ahead.
Meier described the Hurricanes' offense in the first half as "horrible."
"I said, 'If our offense is the problem, we're fine,'" she said. "We knew we would click at a certain point."
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