COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland blew a golden opportunity to beat Miami.
Too many missed layups and free throws cost the eighth-ranked Terrapins in their 76-74 loss to the No. 6 Hurricanes on Sunday.
Tianna Hawkins scored 18 points and Lynetta Kizer added 16 to lead Maryland, which had a season-high 11,000 fans.
“It was a game of runs and down the stretch they stepped up and made plays like seniors do,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said of Miami. “From our end we’re disappointed. We played with heart and effort and intensity, but late-game free throws, layups and turnovers were costly to put a team away in your building.”
Maryland, which committed 21 turnovers, was up 66-60 with 6 minutes left before Miami rallied. The Terrapins (21-4, 8-4) missed six layups and seven free throws in the second half.
“The last minute, they made plays,” Maryland guard Anjale Barrett said.
Stefanie Yderstrom scored a career-high 26 points and Shenise Johnson added 20 points and seven steals to lead Miami (22-3, 11-1).
“Stef had an awesome performance today,” Miami coach Katie Meier said. “She was incredible and focused. You’ve got to talk about her when you talk about the Miami guards being so good.”
Miami seniors Johnson and Riquna Williams were already on the top of every opponent’s scouting report, having scored over 2,000 points apiece in their illustrious careers. Now the Hurricanes have a third option with Yderstrom.
The Hurricanes have won 11 straight games since falling to North Carolina by two points on Jan. 2. They remained a game behind Duke for the Atlantic Coast Conference lead. Meier could empathize with Frese.
“We know what it feels like to have a game stolen. We lost one at Carolina,” Meier said. “You can’t believe it happened.”
Trailing by six, Miami rallied behind Johnson. The preseason All-American’s jumper from the corner with 2:07 left gave the Hurricanes their first lead since early in the first half and set up a tense finish.
Barrett’s layup with 54 seconds to go put Maryland ahead 72-71.
But the Hurricanes took the lead for good on Sylvia Bullock’s jumper 15 seconds later. After two missed shots by the Terrapins, Johnson hit two free throws to make it 75-72.
Laurin Mincy missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game, and Williams hit a free throw to seal the win.
Leading by five points at halftime, Maryland was able to extend the advantage to 50-42. The Terrapins had chances to make it a double-digit lead but kept missing layups and free throws that allowed Miami to stay in the game.
Miami won the first meeting between the teams Jan. 12, handing Maryland its first loss of the season. In that game, Kizer had just four points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.
“We felt we gave everything, pretty much. It definitely hurts,” Kizer said. “This is one we will keep in our back pocket and come out stronger.”
Meier was dressed in a pink top and wore pink sneakers in support of the Play4Kay foundation that honors former N.C. State coach Kay Yow, who died of cancer three years ago. The Miami players wore pink sneakers while the Terrapins were dressed in pink uniforms.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)