COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In the first quarter of the West Virginia University women’s basketball team’s second-round NCAA Tournament game at Maryland on Sunday, it seemed the Mountaineers may be pulling yet another postseason upset.
Already having beaten three ranked teams to win the Big 12 Tournament and clinch a berth in the big dance, the No. 6-seed Mountaineers controlled the first quarter against the No. 3-seed — and No. 3-ranked — Terps.
Maryland, however, owned the next three quarters and beat West Virginia, 83-56, to advance to the Sweet 16.
“Same thing all year,” Mountaineers coach Mike Carey said. “We don’t have a deep bench, we wore down and they kept bringing players in. That’s what happens.”
The Mountaineers finish the season 24-12 with a Big 12 Tournament title.
In the opening period Sunday, West Virginia dominated and led, 16-12, headed to the second quarter.
The Mountaineers suffocated Maryland with active, physical defense, preventing the Terps from scoring a point in the paint until more than seven minutes after the opening tip.
Meanwhile, guard Tynice Martin showed the type of scoring that powered the Mountaineers to the conference championship, scoring six first-quarter points on 3-for-7 shooting.
“We were aggressive on both ends of the floor,” center Lanay Montgomery said. “We were in attack mode.”
After the first quarter, though, the team “laid back,” Montgomery said.
Maryland took advantage, scoring the first 11 points of the second quarter as part of a 23-4 run.
After the Mountaineers made a couple of buckets with less than a minute left, Maryland guard Destiny Slocum beat the halftime buzzer with a two-hand, overhead 3-pointer from well-past midcourt to put the Terps up, 38-24.
“We can’t really do anything about that,” Mountaineers forward Teana Muldrow said. “It was just one-in-a-trillion.”
Carey, who had began walking toward the locker room with his arms crossed with Slocum’s shot in midair, dropped them to his side when it fell through the basket.
But Carey said the score didn’t have an outsized effect on his team, pointing to the previous 9 minutes and 58 seconds of the second quarter as more damaging.
“What’d they shoot [in the] second quarter, 70 percent?” Carey said. “Believe me, that three didn’t hurt us anymore than the other shots they shot there.”
After shooting less than 30 percent in the first quarter, Maryland went 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) in the second period.
Carey said his team “quit playing” during the game, and bemoaned the injuries that left his team thin all season long.
“We wear down, or somebody’s not scoring, they don’t play hard on the other end,” Carey said. “We just don’t have the bench to put other people in and correct it. That’s why I’m so frustrated. I’ve gotta to live with a lot of stuff I don’t normally live with because we just don’t have the numbers.”
The Terps never allowed West Virginia closer than 12 points after halftime. Martin missed her final 12 shots and didn’t score a point in the second or third quarters.
Maryland center Brionna Jones, who had just four points and sporadic offensive touches in the first quarter, came alive to finish with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“I’m very proud of [our seniors] and I’m proud of our team, [but] we didn’t have it tonight,” Carey said.
“We just didn’t play hard enough and do the things we need to do to compete against a great team like Maryland.”