PHILADEPHIA — The fifth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team went scoreless over the final seven minutes against Saint Joseph’s, and that drought combined with a flurry of missed shots and turnovers conspired to send the Terrapins to their first loss, 50-49, on Saturday at Hagan Arena.
Maryland (2-1) had a chance to win at the buzzer, but with a half-second remaining, senior forward Tianna Hawkins’s jumper from just inside the three-point line hit the rim and fell off, triggering a wild celebration at midcourt for the Hawks’ first victory over a ranked opponent since 2007.
“Obviously we have a thin margin for error,” said Terrapins Coach Brenda Frese, who did not make players available to reporters after the game. “Obviously you’ve got to come ready to play. I think this game will absolutely humble us. I think we may have spent a lot of time thinking about last year versus this season.”
Last season, Maryland advanced to the NCAA tournament region final, fueling expectations for a push for the Final Four this season. Then presumptive starting point guard Brene Moseley tore her ACL during a scrimmage one month ago, and Frese had to move several players out of position.
The lack of a true point guard made a difference against Saint Joseph’s, which forced 19 turnovers that led to 15 points. Terrapins junior Laurin Mincy, normally a shooting guard who has become the primary ballhandler, had 14 points but committed six turnovers with two assists.
Junior all-American forward Alyssa Thomas had 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds to go along with three assists and three blocks but missed 19 of 25 shots and had a game-high seven turnovers. Hawkins, who last week was named ACC player of the week, had just two points on 1-for-5 shooting with six rebounds.
“We know where we’re at. We’re not going to get a point guard this season,” Frese said after a lengthy talk with her team in the visiting locker room. “So we’ve got to do it by committee, and we’ve got to find a way.”
The Terrapins were unable to do so after taking a 47-38 lead with 9 minutes 10 seconds left after junior center Alicia DeVaughn made one of two from the line. From there, Saint Joseph’s (2-1) went on a 12-2 run with forward Ilze Gotfrida’s basket at 4:21 putting the Hawks ahead to stay.
Forward Chatil van Grinsven led St. Joseph’s with a game-high 18 points and a team-high eight rebounds, and guard Erin Shields chipped in 10 points and two three-pointers. The Hawks limited Maryland to 34 percent shooting, including 21 percent in the second half, and held the reigning ACC tournament champions to 14 points after intermission.
The victory was especially gratifying for sophomore guard Natasha Cloud, who transferred to Saint Joseph’s after one season at Maryland in part to be closer to home. Cloud finished with eight points and a game-high seven assists while committing just one turnover.
“It’s a great win,” Cloud said. “I have nothing against Maryland. They’re a great team. It’s always going to be a part of me. I was there for a year, but it feels great to be home with my hometown team at St. Joe’s with a team that I love and a coaching staff that I love and come out with a win over the number five team in the country.”