Late in the third quarter, Stanford led by over 20 as the Cardinal looked to coast to victory. Lexie Hull easily stole the ball away from Diamond Miller, and passed the rock to Haley Jones. Jones easily coasted for the layup — dodging putrid attempts from multiple Terps to stop her on her way to the hoop.
Jones’ layup symbolized the mentality from both sides — Stanford was the more energized and active team, while Maryland struggled to put anything together until it was too late — as the Cardinal advanced to the Elite Eight, downing the Terps, 72-66.
“I think [the loss] is humbling. I need to work on my game and work on things that I suffered from this season. [Stanford] backed up on me a lot and I should’ve taken a jump shot but I wasn’t as confident, and I know going into next season I’ll be confident with that shot,” Angel Reese said.
No. 4-seed Maryland women’s basketball faced off against No. 1-seed Stanford in the Sweet 16, with the winner set to take on No. 2-seed Texas in the Elite Eight.
Diamond Miller started aggressive for Maryland — three shots within the first three minutes of the game — but none found the bottom of the net. The Terps as a team started 0-5 from the field.
Jones — the Pac 12 Player of the Year — led the Cardinal offense throughout the early stages of the first quarter. Jones scored eight of Stanford’s first ten points, helping the Cardinal get out to a six point lead with just over three minutes left in the first.
Jones’ teammates stepped up the rest of the quarter, as Stanford consistently moved the ball well on offense with constant off-ball motion to get open looks. The Cardinal shot 71% from the field in the first quarter alone.
Maryland’s offense struggled to attack the paint because of Stanford’s size — the Terps scored just four points in the paint through one.
The Terps attempted 16 shots in the quarter, but made just three of them, shooting at a dismal 19% clip.
Entering the second quarter, Stanford led 22-10.
“They punished us first … definitely towards the end of [the first] quarter,” Chloe Bibby said. “We could’ve crashed our board a little bit harder in that first quarter and that’s what knocked us back for the rest of the game.”
Maryland’s defense stepped up in the second quarter as Stanford missed its first seven shots of the quarter, but the Terps’ inability to get consistent good looks on offense only allowed them to trim their deficit down to eight.
Midway through the second, Cameron Brink headed to the locker room in pain. Brink picked up her second foul of the game — and most of the contact on an Angel Reese drive — sending her to be looked at by the Stanford staff. Before Brink left the game, she led the Cardinal in scoring with 13 points.
Stanford outscored Maryland 12-6 without Brink on the court to close out the first half. The Terps made just eight field goals in the half — and none from deep. On the other side, Stanford connected on four looks from behind the arc and shot 51% from the floor.
Brink and Jones led all scorers at the half with 13 and 10, respectively.
As a team, Stanford outrebounded Maryland by 15 in the first two quarters. The Cardinal size, in addition to the Terps’ inability to box out and secure boards caused problems for Maryland on both ends, as they trailed by 16 at halftime, 39-23.
“That first quarter really impacted us with the way they came out and shot the ball. I thought we spent too much time trying to feel out that first half with them,” head coach Brenda Frese said.
The third quarter didn’t start much differently than the entirety of the first half — Maryland’s rebounding issues remained prevalent, its offense struggled with finding good looks, while Stanford spread the wealth offensively.
Stanford outscored Maryland by seven in the third quarter as the Cardinal grew its lead to 23 entering the fourth.
Hull, Jones, and Brink all scored at least 14 through three quarters, while Maryland’s leading scorer — Reese — recorded only 12 points.
Maryland went on a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, but Hannah Jump swished a three to halt the Terps’ momentum and extend Stanford’s lead back up to 19.
Midway through the quarter, the Terps went on a 8-0 run to trim their deficit down to 13.
Mimi Collins connected on a jumper with 1:41 left in the fourth, cutting Stanford’s lead to single digits, 68-59.
The Terps got within six, but couldn’t get any closer, and they fell to the Cardinal, 72-66.
“The grind doesn’t stop because we lost. We got to be ready and start grinding again,” said Miller.
Maryland’s season finished in the Sweet 16. Throughout an up-and-down 2021-2022, the Terps dealt with injuries and a lack of true depth on the bench, but still battled game in and game out. Against Stanford, the lack of depth, coupled with a mismatch in size, was too much to overcome, as the Terps’ championship hopes vanished into thin air.