End of road for Hurricanes

The women’s basketball team’s highly successful season came to a disappointing end with an 86-85 upset loss to Maryland at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, La. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Down by three with one second left, Yalonda McCormick passed up a potentially game-tying three-point opportunity by passing the ball to Shaquana Wilkins, who scored a two-point jumper with .4 seconds left, failing to leave the Hurricanes enough time for another possession.

Delvona Oliver and Chrystal Washington each scored 22 points to lead the Terrapins (No. 12 in the West Region). Maryland (18-12) will meet Louisiana State in the second round, while the ‘Canes will return to Coral Gables with a 22-7 record.

The Hurricanes jumped out to an early nine-point lead with 5:50 left in the first half when forward Chanivia Broussard hurt her right knee in a pileup under the basket. She sat out the rest of the half, as Maryland ended the period on a 15-5 run to take a 38-37 lead.

Broussard returned for the second half wearing a knee brace, finishing with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Wilkins added 17 points and 10 rebounds, McCormick totaled 16 points and Melissa Knight had 14 for the ‘Canes. Tamara James, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, was held to 15 points, thanks to relentless defensive pressure from the Terrapins.

“This was a very hard-fought game,” Head Coach Ferne Labati told the Miami Herald. “We got out to a great start and I felt we were really clicking and then Chanivia went down.”

Maryland shot 58 percent from the field while Miami connected on 50 percent of its field goal attempts. The Hurricanes out-rebounded the Terrapins 35-30.

The ‘Canes’ only lead of the second half was a 52-50 edge with 13:29 left in the game. James tied the score at 79 with a three-pointer with 1:29 remaining, but Oliver followed with a lay-up to put the Terps back in front for good.

Both teams struggled mightily at the foul line, as the Hurricanes only connected on 13 of 22 attempts and the Terrapins went 18-of-29. Maryland made free throws when it counted, however, hitting five out of seven in the final 50 seconds.

The loss marked the end of Broussard’s and Wilkins’ University of Miami careers. Starters James, McCormick, and Knight will be returning to lead the Hurricanes next season.

The ‘Canes were eliminated in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.