Maryland (25-4, 12-2), winners of nine straight games, clinched their first ACC regular season title since 1989 and locked up the number one seed in the upcoming ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
“I don’t think we made a statement early,” head coach Katie Meier said. “They are a great basketball team.”
Senior forward Marissa Coleman paved the way for the Terrapins with 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Maryland had five players in double digits.
Freshman guard Riquna Williams scored 17 points and senior forward Lamese James added 16 points for Miami.
The Hurricanes (13-16, 2-12) never led and trailed by as many as 32 points.
“They are awesome,” Meier said. “They are one of the most fluid teams across the nation. They have been like that for the past couple of years.”
Maryland held Miami’s top two scorers in check. Freshman sensation Shenise Johnson had eight points and shot one for seven from the field. In 31 minutes of action, senior guard LaToya Cunningham was held scoreless and took only one shot.
“They shut down LaToya and Shenise,” Meier said. “They made a statement defensively. They were clicking.”
Maryland took command early. In the first half, the Terrapins went on a 16-3 run and had a strong 48-32 lead going to halftime. Another 13-2 run in the second half sealed Miami’s fate.
“I’m so proud of the team,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese, who guided Maryland to a national championship in 2006. “It was a special win for us, being ACC champions for the first time in 20 years. Tremendous win for us.”
The Canes couldn’t handle Maryland in the inside. The Terrapins out-rebounded Miami 52 to 35. Coleman and 6’4″ freshman center Lynetta Kizer combined for 26 of the team’s rebounds.
“We [are] just getting better,” Coleman said.
Miami has had it tough down the stretch this year. The Canes have lost five straight and their last four opponents have been ranked.
“We had a tough end of the season,” Meier said. “Three ranked teams on the road then a top team in Maryland at home. That’s tough.”
Miami will try to end the season on a positive note in the ACC tournament.
“We still can write our own book,” James said. “We want to go to the ACC tournament and make a Cinderella story.”