Another close game, another gut-wrenching loss for the women’s basketball team.
Maryland freshman Crystal Langhorne had a career night with 29 points and 22 rebounds, third most in school history, as the No. 20 Terrapins escaped from the Convocation Center with a 70-65 victory over the Hurricanes on senior night.
Shay Doron added 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting for Maryland.
Miami (12-13, 4-8) hung tough throughout the game, led by Tamara James’ 27 points and seven steals and Imani Dhahabu’s career-high18 points and nine rebounds. The performance was bittersweet for Dhahabu, however, as the sophomore missed two free throws with 11 seconds left that would have tied the game.
The Terrapins (18-6, 7-5) out rebounded the Hurricanes 46-26, mainly because of Langhorne, who had 11 offensive rebounds. Miami Head Coach Ferne Labati said she was proud of her team’s fight but is frustrated by the Hurricanes’ inability to win the battle of the boards.
“It’s heartbreaking because we have the ability to be a really good team,” Labati said. “We just, on our home court, allow people to out rebound us…that’s really disappointing.”
Despite a heartbreaking loss to N.C. State earlier in the week, the Hurricanes showed from the very beginning of this contest how motivated they were to beat a ranked opponent. With the score 8-8, James scored six consecutive points to give Miami a 14-8 advantage. The ‘Canes were in control until an 8-0 Maryland run put the Terps on top 24-23 with 2:48 left in the first half. The Terrapins took a 30-26 lead into the locker room.
Maryland opened up a 40-31 lead early in the second half but Miami responded with an 11-2 run to tie the score at 42 with 12:08 left. The rest of the game was back-and-forth until a Langhorne lay-up put the Terrapins up by eight (67-59) with 1:16 remaining.
That appeared to be too much for the Hurricanes to rally from, but six straight points from James put the ‘Canes within two points with 46 seconds left. Yalonda McCormick, one of two seniors honored before the game, had a chance to tie the score with 14 seconds left but missed a breakaway lay-up. Dhahabu fought for the rebound and was fouled, but she was unable to make either attempt.
Kalika France clinched the victory for Maryland by hitting three out of four foul shots, leaving the Hurricanes a game below .500 wondering if the WNIT is still an option.
“This is frustrating because I want to go to postseason,” Labati said. “We just have to get the wins.”
The Hurricanes return to action Thursday when they travel to Durham, N.C. for a rematch with Duke.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at email@example.com.