Apr 5, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Connecticut Huskies guard Kia Nurse (11) defends Maryland Terrapins guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (32) during the second half of a 2015 NCAA Women
The battle of #1’s came and went folks. The Connecticut Huskies and Maryland Terrapins competed for a spot in the National Championship game. Both teams had dominant seasons to get to the Final Four. As UCONN always does, they thrive on runs, and when they have one they don’t settle. The Huskies had an 11 point 44-33 lead at halftime and put their foot on the gas from then on. The Maryland Terrapins were no match. Their streak of 28-0, like that of the Kentucky Wildcats, ended with a heartbreaking loss.
The game started out neck and neck with both teams playing fast, and UCONN zoned in defensively and was able to gain a lead and keep it. Maryland was unable to keep pace in the first half against UCONN in two statistical categories: field goal percentage and free throws. UCONN was 17-of-30 shooting (56 percent) while Maryland was 15-of-31 shooting at 48 percent. Maryland took no free throws in the first half, while UCONN took six and missed one.
Three of the five UCONN starters were in double figures at halftime, which spells success for any offense: Morgan Tuck (13 points), Moriah Jefferson (11 points), Breanna Stewart (10 points). Maryland struggled out of the gate and didn’t score until four minutes into the second half, while UCONN went on a 9-0 run. At one point, the Huskies led by 20 points; and although Maryland was riding a 28-game winning streak, the streak was in danger.
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The Huskies were leading 60-42 with under 12 minutes to go. At the 11:35 mark Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck combined for 37 points and 11 rebounds. The Huskies were making shots, and Maryland couldn’t seem complete a string of baskets that could get them back in the game. It was just UCONN’s night. They were on their p’s and q’s Sunday and it resulted in the loss for the Lady Terps, ending their season.
Player of the Game: UCONN’s Morgan Tuck was the player of the game in my mind. She had 24 points and 9 rebounds against the Lady Terps and played an outstanding game. She led the way in the stat sheet and with her leadership, and she is the reason why the Huskies are in the National Championship game once again.
While Maryland takes this loss and it will sting for a short time hopefully, the team did amazing things this season. A 28-game winning streak and Final Four appearance is something to be proud of. This is an already great team. Newly-recruited talent will bring more size and speed as an add-on bonus for next season.
As a new member of the Big Ten conference, they ran the table with 18 wins which then led to them winning the regular season B1G title. Additionally, they won the B1G tournament. This team is that close to winning a national title. This loss is more motivation to get it right next time.