Women’s NCAA Tournament: Terps to Battle Tennessee for Spot in Final Four


Mar 28, 2015; Spokane, WA, USA; Maryland Terrapins bench celebrates a three-pointer during a game against the Duke Blue Devils during the second half in the semifinals of the Spokane regional of the women’s 2015 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Terrapins won 65-55. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After downing the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16 round of the Women’s NCAA Tournament, the Maryland Terrapins are set to do battle with the No. 2 seed Tennessee Volunteers. The winner will punch their ticket to the Final Four in Tampa. The game can be seen tonight at 9pm Eastern Time on ESPN and ESPN3.

Tennessee comes into this game with a 30-5 record (15-1 in SEC) and to advance to the Elite Eight, they have defeated Boise State, Pittsburgh, and Gonzaga. The Lady Vols proved themselves to be a resilient bunch after overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat the Zags in the Sweet 16.

It is quite hard to point out many weaknesses with this Tennessee team. They are very sound on both ends of the court. They score 72 points per game and shoot almost 43 percent from the field. They also boast a stifling defense, which holds opponents to under 57 points per game.

One big hurdle that the Lady Vols will have to climb, however, is the loss of their best player, Isabelle Harrison. Harrison was the Vols’ leading scorer (12.2 PPG) and rebounder (8.6 RPG) this season before going down with an ACL injury. They’ve made it this far without her, but Maryland is a different beast.

There are two seniors who must pick up the slack and come up big in order for the Vols to have a chance in this one. Guard Ariel Massengale has taken over the leading scorer role, averaging 11.4 a clip and she also dishes out 2.5 assists per game. Massengale is also a gifted shooter, knocking down more than 37 percent of her shots from downtown. Forward Cierra Burdick is now the Vols’ leading rebounder with 7.6 a game. Burdick really put in work against Gonzaga, scoring 22 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. 

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Tennessee surely will have their work cut out for them in this one, as Maryland is having an impressive season, reeling off 27 straight victories. The Terps are a very deep and talented team, while the Vols’ rotation is a little thinner.

This game may ultimately be won in the paint. Tennessee is a great defensive and rebounding team, but without Harrison they may have a hard time containing center Brionna Jones, who has 15 double-figure scoring games and six games with double-figure rebounds.

Both teams are very talented and deserve to be here at this point. The question remains if Tennessee will have enough firepower to keep up with the Terps. It is fair to say that Maryland is the favorite to win this game, but the game will not be played on paper, so they will need to play a complete game to advance.

Whichever team comes out on top will have the luxury of playing the UConn Huskies in the Final Four. Congratulations.

Next: Diamond Stone Makes Terps Contenders Next Season