The Women’s Final Four matchup for the Maryland Terrapins is set. The Lady Terps play the Connecticut Huskies Sunday at 8:30 pm on ESPN. This game has big implications for the Lady Terps. They could lose and miss out on a chance to play in the title game or win and beat a Geno Auriemma coached UConn team that has been dominant this year and in years past. Maryland is on a role of their own. They have gone undefeated in the last 28 games and a common theme in Maryland head coach Brenda Frese’s speeches to her team: “show them what Maryland basketball is all about.”
What Maryland basketball has been all about the last 28 games is physicality on the boards, driving to the basket with reckless abandoned and pushing the ball in transition. Teams haven’t been able to keep with Maryland’s pace because they rebound the ball so well and their transition game is one of the best in the NCAA. Their sophomore class is a big part of their success and Brionna Jones in the post spearheads the success of the team offensively as a rebounder and scorer.
While Maryland has their big four of Lexie Brown, Laurin Mincy, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Jones in this Women’s Final Four matchup, the Lady Terps will have to worry about these players on UConn’s squad:
1. Breanna Stewart: The 6-foot-4 forward for the Huskies put on dominant performances in her last two games against the Texas Longhorns (31 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists) and Dayton Flyers (23 points, 16 rebounds). As a front court player, she has many things that make her a danger to defend against. The Lady Terps will have to keep her off the boards and box out. Defending her without fouling will be something that the Lady Terps must do.
2. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis: Stewart’s teammate is great in her own right. She has a stretch four quality in her player as a 50 percent three-point shooter and she just had a 7-for-10 shooting night from behind the arc against Dayton. The Lady Terps will need to be wary of her on the perimeter. Three point shots add up fast.
Keys to the Game:
1. Defense Wins Games: The Lady Terps have to lock in defensively if they want a shot at the title game. That means shutting down the paint, being physical on the boards and not letting the three-point shot put them in a position to get behind.
2. Push the Ball Down the Floor: Maryland is known for their play in transition. They get a lot of their points that way and it puts defenses in tough spots. Against a Huskies team though, the Lady Terps will have to do that and more.
I think this game could go into overtime, but defense could also take over so I’m going to go with a low score on this one: