With the outcome hanging in the balance, Maryland needed a big basket, and Shay Doron delivered. Doron's three-point shot midway through the second half sparked a run by the No. 7 seed Terrapins that allowed them to pull away for a 65-55 win against 10th-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay before 4,483 yesterday at Comcast Center in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Maryland (22-9), which has won first-round games in consecutive years for the first time since 1989-90, advanced in the Philadelphia Region and will play second-seeded Ohio State tomorrow night.
Wisconsin Green Bay's Nicole Soulis passes the ball despite the efforts of Maryland's Ashleigh Newman during the first half.
(Gail Burton - AP)
"Big-time players come out and put their team on the their back," Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. "Shay did a tremendous job of being aggressive on the offensive end."
Doron, the team's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, hadn't scored more than 11 points in her last four games.
But on a night when not much was going right offensively for the Terrapins, Doron carried them. She scored 26 points -- 18 of them in the second half -- and made 9 of 18 shots. It was more than she had scored in her last three games combined.
"I think I was being a lot more aggressive," Doron said. "Obviously, knocking down shots gives you a lot of energy as well. I definitely was trying to raise the level of energy on the team because we were kind of dead."
Maryland certainly seemed lifeless for much of the game. With ACC rookie of the year Crystal Langhorne in foul trouble, the Terrapins were having trouble scoring against Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-4). After shooting 29 percent in the first half, they made only 37 percent of their shots overall.
"Crystal's an unbelievable player, and obviously a huge, huge part of our offense," Doron said. "It definitely got us out of our rhythm."
Langhorne picked up her second foul on a charge with 11 minutes 17 seconds remaining in the first half, then spent the rest of the half on the bench. She had only six points at halftime.
"It was pretty tough," Langhorne said. "I remember the last game I got two fouls [and had to sit down], we lost. I was a little worried about it, but our team handled it."
Despite playing only 27 minutes, Langhorne finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds for her 17th double-double of the season. She was the only player besides Doron to score in double figures for the Terrapins.
Maryland was so concerned about Wisconsin-Green Bay's ability to shoot from the perimeter that the Terrapins focused all their efforts on defending the three-point shot. The Phoenix, which averages more than seven three-point baskets a game, made only 1 of 11 attempts.
"Our main objective was to defend the three-point line," Maryland point guard Anesia Smith said. "I think we did a great job doing it. We knew if they had to score inside the three-point line that works to our advantage."
But by concentrating its defensive efforts on the outside, Maryland opened up drives to the basket, and Wisconsin-Green Bay outscored the Terrapins 34-28 in the paint.
"The lane was so open we just took it down the lane," Phoenix guard Abby Scharlow said. "Every time we penetrated, it seemed like we had a wide-open lane to take it and score. Threes were covered pretty good."
In a game that featured 10 lead changes and eight ties, Maryland did not gain control until Doron sank her three-pointer with 8:38 remaining. Her shot began a 10-0 run by the Terrapins that put them ahead 56-45. Doron scored seven points during that run. Wisconsin-Green Bay pulled to 59-53 with just under a minute remaining, but the Phoenix came no closer.
OHIO STATE 86, HOLY CROSS 45: The second-seeded Buckeyes had too much inside for the No. 15 seed Crusaders. Ohio State, which outscored Holy Cross 52-18 in the lane, was led by sophomore center Jessica Davenport. The Big Ten player of the year finished with 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her 13th double-double this season.
Ohio State, which recorded its second-largest margin of victory in an NCAA tournament game, made more than twice as many field goals (34) as Holy Cross. The Buckeyes had more field goals at halftime (18) than the Crusaders had for the game (16).