One and Done
Greensboro, N.C. . . . Maryland and Georgia Tech finished the ACC regular season with identical records, separated for tie-break purposes only by Kim Rodgers's buzzer-beater that won the game for the Terps at Tech.
And solely by virtue of that tie-breaker, Maryland earned a bye yesterday in Round 1 of the ACC Tourney here in Greensboro . . . while the Yellow Jackets did not. Instead, yesterday morning, GT faced Virginia Tech in an early game that quickly turned into a full-fledged rout. The Jackets barely worked up a sweat as they blew the Hokies out of the arena. So, despite playing that early round, their starters were well rested when GT took the court against the Terps at 11 AM this morning in the ACC quarterfinals.
Let's get right to the bottom line. The Terps lost, 64-70, and that early exit means their ACC season is now over.
It always makes us sad when the team we support and the young ladies who play for Maryland lose a game . . . particularly an important one like today's. But what makes us doubly sad is we left the arena feeling like the Terps had plenty of chances to win today.
In the early going, the game indeed looked like one between two teams that had been separated only by a tie-breaker. It was one of those back and forth battles; a one possession contest for most of the first half. Then GT pulled away late in the first period (though by single digits), only to see the Terps counter with a run (led by super frosh Alyssa Thomas) that wiped out the Jackets' lead and sent Maryland into the locker room at half-time with a one-point lead.
After the break, the Terps continued their strong performance. Thanks to a couple of big 3-pointers by Kimmie and additional scoring by other Maryland players, the Terps built an 11-point lead in less than 4 minutes of the second half. Too bad the game is 40 minutes and not 25.
After that early final-period run, the next 10 minutes or so were All-Tech. Maryland missed shots, turned the ball over, was called for fouls. As fans, we sat helpless watching the wheels come off . . . seeing GT wipe out the entire 11-point Maryland lead and then add 9 more. A 20-point swing in favor of the Jackets. The Terps players and coaches continued to work hard to close the gap. But Maryland never got closer than 4.
Congratulations to Georgia Tech. Early exit for Maryland.
We're glad there are no seniors on the Maryland team. We know the players are upset. We know they'll all be looking for a chance to redeem themselves next year. And we plan to be back to see them do it. This is a very young team. We're confident they'll learn from today's not-so-fun experience.
For now, we hope they'll put today behind them, and get ready for the NCAA Tournament. The Terps are hosting the first two rounds at Comcast, starting on March 20. We hope you have your tickets!