Maryland Terrapins Women’s Basketball will not be moving to the Sweet 16 after former Terp Kiara Leslie leads NC State to a 74-60 victory.
There was only one thing standing in the way of the Maryland Terrapins Women’s Basketball team (26-8, 12-4 Big Ten) from moving on to another Sweet 16. The NC State Wolf Pack.
The Wolfpack (25-8, 11-5 ACC) won their first-round matchup against the Elon Phoenix convincingly 62-35 behind former Maryland Guard Kiara Leslie’s 13 points and four rebounds.
Her production was accompanied by Guard Aislinn Koenig’s 12 points, five rebounds and a pair of assists and Foward Chelsea Nelson’s nine points and team-leading 12 rebounds.
So NC State has their three playmakers and Maryland has Kaila Charles, Eleanna Cristinaki, and Kristen Confroy. Which trio and team would prevail was the question.
Both teams came out aggressive in transition and points were going up early in the first quarter. For the Wolfpack, their defense helped them jump out to an 18-9 lead under a minute left.
The Terps were down by seven, 18-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Wolfpack outrebounded the Terps 11-4 and had three players close to double figures in scoring: Akela Maize (six points), Kiara Leslie (five points) and Kaila Ealey with five as well.
A 6-2 run and two consecutive steals by Kiara Leslie gave the Wolfpack a 24-13 lead with 8:40 to go in the first half.
Under six to go, Maryland Women’s Basketball cut the Wolfpack’s lead to five, 24-19 and the Terps defense had six straight stops and offensively they went on an 8-0 run down by three 24-21.
NC State finished the half with 32-26 lead and Leslie had 11 points to lead all scorers on 4-of-8 shooting and added seven rebounds.
The Terps ended the half on a 13-8 run to close the half and while they struggled early in the second to get shots to go down they slowly but surely returned to form. Iesha Small Brianna Fraser combined for 16 of the Terps 26 points.
The third quarter saw Maryland have a few opportunities to take the lead but failed to do so and under four the Wolfpack led by six points 45-36 and Kiara Leslie was still producing at a high level with 18 points, nine rebounds, and three steals.
The Wolfpack were running away with this game and a 16-2 run led to 53 – 38 lead. Kaila Charles and Kristen Confroy were silenced by the Wolfpack defense for most of the game when the Terps needed them to produce the most.
The end of the third quarter saw NC State up 56-40 and winning the game in these major categories: field goal percentage (51 percent), three-point field goal percentage (60 percent on 6 -of-10), rebounds (29) and assists (11).
The Terps season and road in the NCAA Tournament came to a close with a 74-60 loss and former Terp Kiara Leslie playing lights out on both sides of the court finishing with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals.
NC State has now reached their first Sweet 16 berth since 2007 and will go on to play the winner of the Oklahoma State and Mississippi State matchup in Kansas City March 23.