The Maryland women’s basketball team is celebrating Senior Day today and I am coming to you live from the Comcast Center. After last week’s loss to Duke with a record-setting crowd, I expect today’s regular season finale against Wake Forest to have a much smaller attendance.
The Terps have lost two in a row, as they lost to Duke on Sunday and Florida State by one on Thursday night. Those two losses have dropped them into third place in the ACC, so they are probably rooting for Duke to beat North Carolina later today. The ACC Tournament seedings will be announced later tonight, but the Terps have already locked up a first round bye and will play Friday in the quarterfinals.
Senior Day brings a lot of emotion and it certainly will be that way today for Tianna Hawkins. She has turned herself into one of the best players in the ACC and will be looking to go out with a bang. She leads the conference in scoring and is second to teammate Alyssa Thomas in rebounding. Volleyball player Caitlin Adams, who joined the team in January, will also be honored before the game.
In the two teams’ first meeting in Winston-Salem, Maryland won 62-52, as Thomas and Hawkins each scored 23 points. Freshman Malina Howard added 12 points off the bench. The Terps have won the last 13 meetings and Wake Forest has not won since February 13, 2003 in College Park.
The Demon Deacons lost their last game on Senior Night, as they have five seniors. Sandra Garcia recorded her third double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and hauling in 12 rebounds. Junior point guard Chelsea Douglas scored 18 points on 3-of-5 shooting from behind the arc. I am sure those five would like to pull the upset in their final regular season home game. They are currently 5-12 in the ACC and are tied for ninth place. They will play Thursday in the ACC Tournament and are the only team in the last four years to win at least one conference tournament game.
Here are the starting lineups:
WAKE FOREST: Chelsea Douglas, Lakevia Boykin, Asia Williams, Dearica Hamby, and Sandra Garcia.
MARYLAND: Chloe Pavlech, Katie Rutan, Alyssa Thomas, Tianna Hawkins, and Alicia DeVaughn.
The tip is up and goes to…Maryland.
Wake’s playing really good D, even if they are sloppy on offense. They press a lot on inbounds passes. Both teams are needing there whole shot-clock to get a shot up.
Oh, we have Douglas wearing pink sneakers and a Brittany Griner look-alike (Hamby). Hamby’s playing a lot like Griner so far, but she can also dribble.
At the first media timeout (13:18 to go), Maryland leads 10-5.
At the under 12 media timeout (11:32 to go), Maryland leads 15-5. Sequoia Austin, who doesn’t play a lot for the Terps, has already hit a three pointer off the bench.
The Demon Deacons commit too many unforced errors. I can see why they are in the bottom half of the ACC, despite some scorers. But then again, the Terps are racking up the turnovers too.
Wake calls timeout with 7:57 to go, as they are now down 21-6. Austin has scored four straight in about ten seconds. Maybe she’ll see more playing time in the tourney?
The media timeout came with 7:43 to go and the Terps leading by the same score.
Thomas has come to play today, on both offense and defense (11 points). So has Hawkins, who doesn’t look too amped up (six points). At the final media timeout of the first half, MD leads 30-13.
I just noticed that Tiernery Pfirman is not on the bench for the Terps. Not a good sign for a team with a short bench to begin with.
A few 3s from Wake got them back in the game in the final minute, but a rare three pointer from Hawkins to close the half gave Maryland a 38-22 lead.
A sloppy first half, with 22 combined turnovers.
Thomas and Hawkins lead all scorers with 11 points. Hawkins also has seven rebounds. For Wake, Garcia has seven points and six rebounds.
The jacket is off for the Wake coach, which you do not see too much with a female coach. There have been a lot of fouls called in the second half, as three Wake players now have three fouls. At the first media timeout of the second half (15:43 to go), MD leads 48-27.
Garcia picked up her fourth foul with 14:36 to go (she had just one at the half). But Wake put together a little run to cut the deficit to 54-34 with 13:42 to go, so MD coach Brenda Free called a timeout (thongs were once again sloppy).
With 11:59 to go, MD leads 58-36. MD just gave away tickets to the best dressed fan for the upcoming NCAA Tournament first and second round games (the Terps are hosting). I’m guessing the crowds for those games will be small?
MD is already shooting 1-and-1 from the FT line with 10:12 to go. Wake has committed nine fouls already, one more for the double bonus.
This game has gotten really ugly, with just too many whistles (many of which are late). Wake is playing with a lot of frustration. They haven’t quite given up yet. There are a lot of smiles on the faces of Terp players though.
With 7:44 to go, MD leads 74-45. The Wake coach is no longer pacing the sidelines. She is seated on the bench.
The top two scorers for the Demon Deacons are ice cold: Boykin and Douglas have less than 15 points, while each average 14.3 points per game.
Thomas went to the bench with about five minutes to go. I wonder if we’ll see her again. Meanwhile, Wake has been subbing those who haven’t played.
The chants for Caitlin Adams have begun. With 3:30 to go, the Terps lead 83-53 and fans are beginning to leave.
The crowd has erupted as Adams heads to the scorer’s table. She enters the game for fellow senior Hawkins. Everyone yells “shoot” when she touches the ball. She did get fouled but missed them both.
When she got the ball down low and put it up, she was fouled as the Comcast Center went nuts. It went even crazier when her free throw bounced in (she made both). Her volleyball teammates have been chanting her name for about a minute.
The Terps win 88-61 and await their seeding in the ACC Tournament later tonight.