Terps avoid upset against Louisville
Hawkins, Mincy lead Maryland to berth in Sweet Sixteen
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Laurin Mincy and Tianna Hawkins provided Maryland with the push it needed to avoid another agonizing exit from the NCAA women’s tournament.
Mincy scored 24 points, Hawkins had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the Terrapins squeezed past Louisville 72-68 on Monday to advance to the round of 16.
On a night in which Maryland star Alyssa Thomas finished with six points on 3-for-10 shooting, Mincy and Hawkins picked up the slack. Hawkins finished one point short of matching her career high, and Hawkins scored six points in the Terrapins’ game-ending 13-4 run.
Maryland (30-4) will face the winner of the Monday night’s late game between defending champion Texas A&M and Arkansas.
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The Terrapins charge into Sunday’s Raleigh Regional semifinal riding a nine-game winning streak. The Atlantic Coast Conference champions are 19-7 in the NCAA tournament under Brenda Frese, whose latest win comes at the expense of former assistant Jeff Walz, now head coach at Louisville.
Down 64-59, Maryland got a baseline jumper from Hawkins and five straight free throws from three different players to go up 66-64. Hawkins then collected the rebound of a missed foul shot and made a layup for a 68-64 lead.
Louisville closed to 71-68 and had one last chance to tie in the closing seconds, but Mincy altered a 3-point try by Becky Burke that fell short.
It was a redemptive win for the Terps, who were upset last season in the second round by Georgetown and eliminated by Walz and the Cardinals in 2009.
Shoni Schimmel scored 22 and Shawnta Dyer had 17 for Louisville (23-10). The Cardinals made only field goal in the final six minutes.
Frese and Walz stood side by side when the Terrapins won the national championship in 2006, but that didn’t prevent the decidedly pro-Maryland crowd from soundly jeering Walz during pregame introductions.
Both teams played in an aggressive fashion befitting their feisty coaches.
No loose ball went uncontested, even if it meant colliding with a pile of bodies on the floor. Frese was nearly as active, running back and forth in front of the Maryland bench, yelling at the referees and applauding every one of her team’s baskets.
Not to be outdone, Walz rolled up his shirt sleeves and never sat down, often cupping his hands around his mouth while yelling to the opposite end of the court.
Maryland built a 51-45 lead with 13:52 left before the Cardinals roared back. Schimmel drilled a 3-pointer before field goals by Bria Smith and Shawnta’ Dyer put Louisville in front.
The Terps forged back in front 58-56, but Schimmel made a 3-pointer and a driving layup before a three-point play by Becky Burke made it 64-59 with 6 minutes to go.
There would be one more lead change in a game that had 11 of them, along with seven ties.
A combination of nerves and intense defense produced 21 turnovers in a back-and-forth first half that ending with Maryland clinging to a 31-29 lead.
Smith scored off the opening tap to start a 6-0 run during which the Terrapins missed two shots and committed three turnovers. After Maryland pulled even at 8, Schimmel hit a runner in the lane and two 3-pointers in a 9-0 surge.
The Terrapins then scored 10 straight points -- six by Mincy and four by Thomas. Louisville moved back in front before Mincy hit two consecutive 3-pointers and Kim Rodgers connected from beyond the arc in a 9-0 run that put Maryland up 27-22.
Louisville went nearly six minutes without a field goal, missing seven straight tries until Dyer made a layup with 2:55 left in the half.
Burke, who came in averaging 11.7 points, was scoreless at halftime and finished with five.