The Gophers were in Maryland on Thursday for a game against the No. 8 team in the nation, who came into the matchup with only three losses on the season.
The game was also the first time that head coach Lindsay Whalen faced Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. Frese was the head coach of the Minnesota Gophers in 2002-03, during Lindsay Whalen’s sophomore year. That year, Whalen was an All-American while Frese was the AP National Coach of the Year.
While the Gophers put up a fight, they dropped the game to the Terrapins 71-69 due to a buzzer-beater.
Minnesota has only played Maryland nine times in program history. Eight of these games resulted in losses for the Gophers, however Minnesota’s first win came last season in a 93-74 win over a top-10 ranked Maryland team.
For much of the game on Thursday, it looked as if Minnesota was headed towards another win over a highly ranked opponent.
The Gophers started the game on a 7-2 run, and after one quarter Minnesota led 20-15.
Minnesota led by as much as 12 points about seven minutes into the second quarter, and at halftime the score was 45-36.
In the third quarter, Minnesota started with another 7-2 run. Maryland tried to decrease the margin, but the Gophers had all of the energy in Xfinity Center. The Gophers outscored the Terrapins 14-12 in the frame.
It was only in the fourth quarter that was Maryland able to fight back. By the halfway point of the quarter, the Terrapins had it down to a five-point game with five minutes left.
The teams went back and forth, and with just fifty seconds remaining the score was 69-64 in Minnesota’s favor.
First, Maryland converted a 3-point play to make it a one-possession game. Then, another layup tied the game with six seconds left. Finally, to end the game, Maryland stole the inbound pass and drove in for a game-winning layup. Though Minnesota outscored Maryland in the first three quarters, the Terrapins dominated the Gophers in the fourth 23-10.
The loss marked the end of Minnesota’s six-game winning streak.
Destiny Pitts finished with 24 points in the game, while Kenisha Bell was only one point shy with 23 points of her own. Taiye Bello had seven points and 16 rebounds.
The team will have to remain confident as they prepare for their next game at Rutgers on Feb. 28.