A fine line separated No. 8 Maryland from No. 6 Miami on Sunday — the foul line.
Missed foul shots, turnovers and bricked layups came back to haunt Maryland as Miami’s late rally edged the Terrapins 76-74 at Comcast Center.
“It just got away from us,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “Late-game free throws, layups, turnovers. Obviously, those possessions are costly in terms of being able to put away a team in your own building.”
Maryland (21-4, 8-4 ACC) shot just 58.8 percent from the free throw line in the second half, and Miami (22-3, 11-1 ACC) shot close to 85 percent on the game. The Terps racked up seven costly misses in the second half as both teams entered the double bonus with more than 4½ minutes remaining.
“Those are empty points, empty possessions for us at the free throw line. [That’s] very uncharacteristic,” Frese said. “We’ve been shooting from the free throw line this year really well. But different dynamic late game when you’ve got to step up and make pressure free throws. Those are all areas again that we can improve and get better.”
The Terps built an early lead before 11,008 — the largest crowd of the season — and led Miami for most of the second half until senior guard Shenise Johnson hit a baseline jumper with 2:00 remaining to give the Hurricanes a 71-70 lead.
Senior guard Anjale Barrett answered with a layup to put Maryland back on top with 54 seconds remaining.
As the boisterous fans rose to their feet, urging the Terps on with chants of “Defense. Defense,” Sylvia Bullock hit a jumper to put Miami back up before Johnson stretched it to three with a pair of free throws.
Maryland had its chances to respond but missed layups dashed hopes for last-second dramatics.
“They were leading things. They were controlling us. They had momentum,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “I’ve got some special seniors that did some amazing things to end that game.”
Meier added: “This is Miami-Maryland. It’s a great game every time it happens. I just thought this was Round 3, Round 4, Round 5 Miami- Maryland.”
Junior guard Stefanie Yderstrom scored a career-high 26 points to pace Miami in the season sweep of Maryland. The other two guards in what Frese called Miami’s “big three”, Johnson and Shanel Williams, added 20 and 15, respectively.
Tianna Hawkins led the Terps with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Lynetta Kizer, who eclipsed 1,500 rebounds on the day to move into fifth on Maryland’s all-time list, also had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Laurin Mincy (11), sophomore forward Thomas (12), and Barrett (12) also scored in double figures for the Terps.
Thomas, who entered the game leading the ACC with more than 17 points per game, led the Terps in a far-less flattering category on the stat sheet: turnovers.
The sophomore forward had six of the team’s 21 turnovers.
“The turnovers killed us,” Barret said. “I take responsibility for that, because as a point guard you’re supposed to settle your team down and that.”
Maryland will visit Virginia on Tuesday before facing No. 5 Duke at home Thursday.
“We’re fine,” Kizer said. “This is one that we’re going to keep in our back pocket and come out stronger against Virginia. We’re just going to take these lessons, learn from them, and move on.”