Initially at the Alamodome on Sunday night, it looked as if Maryland was going to waltz its way into the Elite Eight.
By the end, however, it was Charli Collier and Texas who came out on top — thanks to a huge defensive effort.
The Longhorns rallied back to knock off Maryland 64-61 and earn the final spot in the Elite Eight on Sunday while holding the Terrapins to a season-low in points. As a 6-seed, Texas is the highest seed left in the tournament.
“Listen, I wish y’all could just see our practices, how hard we work, every single one of us, everyday — whether it’s two hours, three hours, we pride ourselves on defense,” Collier said on ESPN after the win. “And as you can see, it don’t matter how many points the other team scores, we’re going to get our defense done. I’m just so proud of us. A lot of times, we had offensive lapses but we relied on our defense and every single one of us, one through five, got some stops and we got the job done tonight.”
Texas rallies after slow start
Maryland came out hot in the opening minutes, and started the game on a 13-2 run. Though the Longhorns cut it back to just a single point briefly, Maryland retained control and rolled to a seven-point halftime lead. The Terps’ 32 first-half points, though, marked their second-lowest halftime points total of the season — which kept Texas within striking distance.
“We started off really slow, a 9-0 run, but we believed in each other,” Collier said on ESPN. “We pulled ourselves together closer in the hurdles and we said we’re going to get this done, we’re going to make history and we’re going to go to the Elite Eight.”
Roughly six minutes into the third quarter, the Longhorns finally took advantage of their defensive effort. Collier drilled a pair of free throws to give Texas its first lead of the game after it held Maryland scoreless for nearly three minutes.
That set up a tight battle through to the final minute, when Texas completed a quick four-point swing after a Celeste Taylor jumper from the wing and Kyra Lambert finished a layup after a steal on the other end.
The Longhorns finished out the game on a 7-2 run — only giving up the two points to a Diamond Miller layup right before the buzzer — to secure the 3-point upset win.
Collier led Texas with 16 points and 11 rebounds after shooting 6-of-11 from the field. Taylor added a double-double of her own with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Joanne Allen-Taylor finished with 13 points.
Miller dropped a game-high 21 points for Maryland while shooting 7-of-15 from the field. Chloe Bibby added 14 points, and Ashley Owusu finished with 10 points.
With the win, Texas will now advance to the Elite Eight and take on top-seeded South Carolina — which beat Georgia Tech by 11 points earlier on Sunday in its Sweet 16 matchup.
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