COLLEGE PARK -- The Maryland women's basketball team's season continues. Barely.
The seventh-seeded Terrapins surrendered a nine-point lead in the first half and needed a dynamic showing from sophomore guard Shay Doron in the second half to defeat 10th-seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay, 65-55, yesterday in a first-round game of the NCAA tournament's Philadelphia Regional that was a lot closer than many of the 4,483 fans at Comcast Center expected.
Maryland (22-9) advanced to the second round for the second straight year and will meet second-seeded Ohio State tomorrow night. The Big Ten regular-season co-champion Buckeyes (29-4) walloped 15th-seeded Holy Cross, 86-45.
Doron, the Terps' lone All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection, led all scorers with 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Freshman center Crystal Langhorne, the ACC Rookie of the Year, added her 17th double double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but their efforts were nearly negated by the scrappy Phoenix.
"It was definitely tighter than I expected," sophomore guard Kalika France said. "But a win's a win, and we have to come back and get ready for Ohio State."
All week, the Maryland players had talked about concentrating on shutting down Wisconsin-Green Bay's three-point shooters, who averaged 7.4 three-point goals and a 38.4 conversion rate -- ranking eighth and 10th, respectively, in the country.
While the Terps carried out their game plan to near perfection and allowed the Phoenix to connect on just one of 11 attempts from behind the three-point arc, they permitted Wisconsin-Green Bay (27-4) to drive the lane and attack the basket.
The Phoenix outscored Maryland 34-28 in the paint. Senior guard Abby Scharlow scored 16 of her team-high 21 points on layups and short jumpers in the lane.
But Terps senior point guard Anesia Smith said the team's first defensive priority was limiting the three-point opportunities.
"If they had to score from inside the three-point line, that worked to our advantage," said Smith, who had seven points and six assists. "Even though we got beat a couple of times, that was our game plan, and it worked in our favor. Two is always better than three. That was our motto all week. That worked for us."
Maryland, which is 7-1 in NCAA tournament games in College Park, opened the game on an 11-2 run, hitting five of eight shots. Then the offense sputtered, and the Terps hit only five of their last 27 shots of the half. Wisconsin-Green Bay used that stretch to outscore Maryland 22-13 and tie the score at 24 at halftime.It didn't help that Langhorne picked up her second foul of the game with 11:17 left and sat out the rest of the half.
The Phoenix opened second half with a layup by Scharlow and its first lead of the game. The teams exchanged leads, and with the Terps clinging to a 46-45 lead with less than nine minutes left in the game, Doron took over.
She hit a three-pointer from the right wing, stole a pass and made a jumper in the lane and sank another midrange jumper to score seven straight points and give Maryland a 53-45 advantage with less than six minutes left.
Wisconsin-Green Bay never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
"I wasn't going to take losing tonight," said Doron, who broke the 20-point plateau for the first time since scoring 20 against Virginia Tech on Feb. 24. "I just wasn't prepared for the season to end tonight."
Said Terps coach Brenda Frese of Doron: "Big-time players come out and put their teams on their backs. ... I thought she did a tremendous job being aggressive on the offensive end."
Both teams protected the ball well -- Maryland committed a season-low eight turnovers, while the Phoenix had nine -- but both also shot poorly. Wisconsin-Green Bay finished the game shooting 35.5 percent (22 of 62) from the floor, while the Terps were only slightly better at 37.1 percent (23 of 62).
Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth, who had initially grumbled about the tournament selection committee's decision to award his team a low seeding and send them to play Maryland in its backyard, was asked if he thought beating the Terps would have been an upset.
"When first looking at them and watching them on videotape, there was no doubt in my mind [that it would have been considered an upset," Borseth said. "But after playing them, I feel like we can play with them. I feel that we have a good enough team to compete with them."
WISCONSIN-GREEN BAY-Mor 6-13 3-3 15, Fieck 0-0 1-5 1, Grassell 0-4 2-2 2, Kulenkamp 2-4 0-1 4, Scharlow 9-19 2-4 21, Groh 0-3 0-0 0, Berglin 3-12 0-0 6, Soulis 2-7 2-2 6. Totals 22-62 10-17 55.
MARYLAND-Langhorne 5-7 6-10 16, Perry 4-8 0-0 8, Doron 9-18 6-7 26, France 2-9 1-4 5, Smith 2-8 3-5 7, Newman 0-2 1-2 1, Carr 0-2 0-0 0, Henson 0-1 0-0 0, Ross 0-1 0-0 0, Noirez 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 23-62 17-28 65.