BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - (Courtesy of WVU Athletic Communications)
The sixth-seeded West Virginia University women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a second quarter run by No. 3-seed Maryland, as the Mountaineers fell, 83-56, to the Terrapins in the NCAA Championship Second Round on Sunday at the XFINITY Center.
West Virginia (24-11) jumped out to 16-10 lead in the first quarter, but Brionna Jones’ layup at the end of the first sparked an eventual 17-2 scoring spurt that would help UMD extend the advantage to double-figures. Lanay Montgomery’s bucket at the 3:15 trimmed the game to 27-20. However, Maryland (32-2) closed the half on a 9-4 run, which included a last-second 70-foot three-pointer made by Destiny Slocum. The Terps outscored WVU, 25-18, in the third quarter and held on in the second half to advance to the NCAA Championship regional in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Teana Muldrow led the Mountaineers with 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Chania Ray made 4-of-7 from the field and scored 14 points and dished out a team-leading five assists. Tynice Martin finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Montgomery capped her tremendous career with nine rebounds, four points and three blocks.
"Give Maryland a lot of credit. They came out and played hard,” coach Mike Carey said. “We did a good job in the first quarter and then we kind of wore down. It’s been the same thing all year; we don’t have a deep bench. We wore down and they kept bringing players in, and that’s what happened.”
West Virginia shot just 31.7 percent (20-of-63) from the field and 30 percent (3-of-10) from the three-point range. WVU connected on 13-of-16 from the free throw for 81.3 percent. Maryland made 52.3 percent (34-of-65) and 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from behind the arc. The Terrapins outscored WVU, 48-24, in the paint and converted 27 points off 18 Mountaineer turnovers.
Jumpers from Ray and Martin combined with a Muldrow layup, gave WVU an early 9-5 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter. Martin made consecutive jumpers under the two-minute mark to stretch the Mountaineer lead to 16-10. Jones scored a layup as time expired in the opening period, trimming the game to 16-12.
The Terrapins carried its offensive momentum from the end of the first and utilized a 15-2 second quarter run. Kristina King snapped a seven-minute scoring drought with a jumper to trim the game to 23-18. Kristen Confroy’s steal and score gave UMD a 27-18 edge with 3:32 left in the quarter.
Montgomery’s layup trimmed the game to seven, 27-20, with 3:09 left. However, UMD used a 9-4 run to close the half and take a 38-24 halftime advantage. UMD shot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) from the field in the second quarter, holding WVU to 26.7 percent (4-of-15).
UMD used another lengthy 12-1 run to open the third quarter to push its lead to 23 at the seven-minute mark. West Virginia utilized an 8-0 run, but the Terps responded with a seven-point spurt of their own to lead 63-42 after three.
The Mountaineers continued to battle in the fourth quarter, but Maryland maintained its double-digit lead to advance to the NCAA Bridgeport Regional next weekend. Jones finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds to pace the Terrapins. Slocum added 21 points and eight assists for UMD.
WVU concludes the 2016-17 season with a 24-11 record. West Virginia won its second conference tournament title in program history after knocking off No. 3-seed Oklahoma (82-58), No. 2-seed Texas (62-59) and No. 1-seed Baylor to claim the 2017 Big 12 Championship title. During the season, WVU knocked off five top 25 opponents and finished No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Montgomery finishes her career with 937 rebounds, 854 points and 330 career blocks. Fellow senior Desiree Rhodes capped her career 108 rebounds, 46 points and 20 blocks in 49 games.
"Desiree Rhodes didn’t play hardly any this year, but always had a smile. She was always positive, didn’t complain. I respect Des as much as any player I’ve ever coached,” said Carey. “Lanay Montgomery has been everything for this program on and off the floor. I’m very proud of them. And I’m proud of this team.”
NOTES: With 56 points, West Virginia broke the program’s single-season scoring record with (2,589) … the Mountaineers trifecta of three-pointers on Sunday gave WVU tied the school record for treys in a season (240) … the Mountaineers fall to 0-3 all-time against Maryland … West Virginia capped its 44th season with a 24-11 overall record, five wins over top-25 teams and a Big 12 Tournament title.