NCAA Tournament: Four things to know about Notre Dame's Sweet 16 opponent Maryland
Four things to know about the second-seeded and No. 7-ranked Maryland Terrapins (27-6) before they face third-seeded and No. 10 Notre Dame (27-5) in Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 matchup (ESPN) in Greenville, S.C.:
Irish are 0-1 vs. Maryland this year
The Terps have already beaten the Irish once this season, 74-72 on Diamond Miller’s 15-footer as time expired Dec. 1 at Notre Dame.
Last meeting:Notre Dame women not immune to a home upset at the buzzer, 74-72, to Maryland
Miller, dribbling left off a strong screen from Faith Masonius on Kylee Watson, hit her off-balance shot as time expired, then made a shush gesture to the Purcell Pavilion crowd in celebration.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard, named a second-team AP All-American last week, along with ND’s sidelined Olivia Miles, pumped in 31 points in that game to go with 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots, each figure leading Maryland.
Sophomore 6-2 guard Shyanne Sellers added 17 points for the Terps, who defeated the Irish for the first time in the teams’ last five meetings dating back to March 2012.
Playing best when it matters most
Maryland’s won 14 of its last 16 games, and the two losses in that span are 96-82 and 89-84 to No. 3 Iowa — at Iowa City and in the Big Ten Tourney — sandwiched around the host Terps also ambushing the Hawkeyes 96-68.
Maryland finished tied for second with the Hawks in the top-loaded Big Ten at 15-3, a game behind second-ranked Indiana at 16-2.
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The Terps were shocked 90-67 by Nebraska on the direct heels of their emotional win over ND, but have since won 20 of 23 with the only loss besides the pair to Iowa being 68-61 at IU.
In the NCAA Tourney, Maryland opened by whipping 15th seed Holy Cross 93-61, leading 52-21 by halftime, then downed seventh seed Arizona 77-64. The Terps outscored the Wildcats 29-9 in the third quarter to take control at 61-42.
Strong backcourt a strength
Miller and Sellers are part of a club that is potent and deep at guard.
Miller’s averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks. Fellow senior guard Abby Meyers is at 14.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
Sellers is chipping in 13.8 points, 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals per outing, while senior wing Brinae Alexander averages 9.1 points.
Alexander and Meyers have combined to convert 125-of-304 on 3-pointers for 41%, including 64-of-145 by Alexander for 44%.
Lasting power for Frese
The Terps have been a perennial power for two decades under long-ago Ball State coach Brenda Frese.
Frese, after two years with the Cardinals and one at Minnesota, arrived in College Park in 2002 and has landed 14 top-10 recruiting classes since.
Her teams have been to 18 of the last 19 NCAA Tournaments, with 11 Sweet 16 appearances now, six Elite Eights, three Final Fours and the 2006 national title.
Maryland resided in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the first 12 years of Frese’s tenure — including a one-season overlap with the Irish in 2013-14 — and has been in the Big Ten the last nine. Her clubs have won seven regular-season league titles and seven conference tourney crowns.
Frese is 562-146 (.794) in 21 years with the Terps and 619-176 (.779) in 24 years overall. She’s had just one non-winning season, her first one at Maryland.
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Greenville 1 Regional
- WHO: No. 3 Notre Dame (27-5) vs. No. 2 Maryland (27-6)
- WHEN: Saturday, 11:30 p.m.
- WHERE: Bon Secours Wellness Arena (15,951), Greenville, S.C.
- WATCH: ESPN.
- LISTEN: WQLQ (99.9 FM; link at UND.com).