Mary­land women romp past West Vir­ginia for spot in Sweet 16.

Mary­land cruises past West Vir­ginia for berth in last 16

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID GINS­BURG

COL­LEGE PARK | Mary­land was al­ready en­joy­ing a heck of a sec­ond quar­ter when Des­tiny Slocum scram­bled in po­si­tion to take a buzzer-beat­ing shot.

Squar­ing up from just out­side the op­po­site arc, Slocum stretched both arms behind her head and let the ball fly.

Swish!

Slocum’s 70-foot shot capped a pivotal run, and the Ter­rap­ins blew past West Vir­ginia 83-56 Sun­day to ad­vance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Bri­onna Jones had 22 points and 11 re­bounds, Slocum scored 21 and Sha­tori Walker-Kim­brough added 19 for third-seeded Mary­land (323), which will next face the win­ner of Mon­day’s game be­tween No. 2 seed Duke and Ore­gon. If Mary­land faces Duke, it will be the first meet­ing be­tween the teams since Mary­land left the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence.

The Ter­rap­ins will be hard­pressed to play bet­ter than they did in this one.

“On a scale of 1 to 100, to­day was 100,” coach Brenda Frese said.

Teana Muldrow led West Vir­ginia (24-11) with 16 points. Lead­ing scorer Tyn­ice Martin was lim­ited to 10 points on 3 of 18 shoot­ing.

The game turned in the sec­ond quar­ter, when Mary­land outscored West Vir­ginia 26-8 to take a 38-24 lead. Af­ter open­ing with a 23-4 surge, the Ter­rap­ins gave up two straight bas­kets — the last with 4 sec­onds left — be­fore Slocum con­nected.

“Why not?” Slocum said. “Just throw it up and see what hap­pens. Watch­ing that thing was crazy. I was in shock. I am still.”

The 5-foot-7 fresh­man was im­me­di­ately swarmed by her team­mates while the fans in Mary­land’s home arena stood and cheered.

“That’s her range,” Walker-Kim­brough said. “I was sur­prised she made it, but a part of me wasn’t.”

The un­likely bas­ket capped a 10-minute stretch in which Mary­land made 12 of 17 shots.

“What they shoot in that quar­ter 70 per­cent?” West Vir­ginia coach Mike Carey said. “Be­lieve me, that shot didn’t hurt us any­more than any of the other shots they (made).”

Ac­tu­ally, it did.

“It was a tough shot to see,” Muldrow said. “But we can’t re­ally do any­thing about that ex­cept try not to let her get the ball at that time. She caught it, and it was one in a tril­lion.”

Mary­land car­ried the mo­men­tum into the third quar­ter, us­ing a 12-1 spurt to build the mar­gin to 23 points. Not long af­ter that, the Big Ten cham­pi­ons cel­e­brated a victory that thrust them into the Sweet 16 for the fifth time in six years.

Last sea­son, Mary­land lost its sec­ond round game at home to Wash­ing­ton. In­tent upon avoid­ing a sim­i­lar fate, the Ter­rap­ins left noth­ing to chance.

“This team def­i­nitely has a dif­fer­ent feel than a sea­son ago,” Frese said. “You can feel their fo­cus in terms of what we’re do­ing.”

West Vir­ginia took a five-game win­ning streak into the con­test, in­clud­ing an up­set of Bay­lor in the Big 12 Tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship. On this day, how­ever, the Moun­taineers were no match for a Mary­land squad that en­tered the NCAA Tour­na­ment with a surly at­ti­tude.

The Ter­rap­ins were dis­pleased af­ter the se­lec­tion com­mit­tee sad­dled it with a No. 3 seed be­cause of a per­ceived weak non-con­fer­ence sched­ule. To voice their dis­plea­sure, they opened with a 42-point win over Buck­nell be­fore eas­ily dis­patch­ing West Vir­ginia.

Mary­land trailed 16-12 af­ter a first quar­ter in which it missed 13 of 18 shots from the floor and were out­re­bounded 14-11.

The tone shifted dra­mat­i­cally at the out­set of the sec­ond pe­riod. Walk­erKim­brough drilled a 3-pointer and added a fast-break layup, Jones bulled her way in the lane for two bas­kets and Slocum popped a jumper for a 23-16 lead.

West Vir­ginia went score­less for more than six min­utes be­fore Kristina King ended the drought with a jumper.

The Ter­rap­ins are on a roll, and they need to be. If Mary­land wins its next game, a matchup with un­beaten UConn in the Huskies’ home state looms in the round of eight.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mary­land’s Kalia Charles and Bri­onna Jones de­fend West Vir­ginia’s Teana Muldrow in an 83-56 win Sun­day in the women’s NCAA bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment.

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