#5: The Rally In Raleigh
July 31, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - They rallied from 20 down vs. Georgia Tech. They came back after trailing by six with two minutes to go at UNC. Down 18 in the first half to reigning NCAA Champion Texas A&M in the Sweet Sixteen? No problem for these Terps. In fact, they rallied once in the second half and again in the second.
"One of the biggest things that sticks out to me from this game is the sense of calm we had as a team, in many regards. When we trailed by 18 in the first half, there was never any panic," head coach Brenda Frese said. "We always felt like we were going to answer. Texas A&M was a terrific team and they came out shooting extremely well."
With the win at the RBC Center on March 25, 2012, the Terrapins dethroned the defending national champions and took another huge step in proving themselves as the next generation of champions at Maryland. They advanced to the fourth Elite Eight under Frese and first with a new group of players.
The Aggies came out of the gate hot. In the first 13 minutes, they went 14-for-19 (73.6 percent) from the field, including a perfect 5-for-5 from outside the arc, to build an 18-point lead with 7:10 to go.
"Texas A&M has a great coaching staff and is really talented," Frese said. "The freshman Alexia Standish, in particular, came out on fire, which really gave them a boost. She was killing us at the point guard spot."
Fortunately for the Terps, their pair of young guards knew how to dig deep. Sophomore Laurin Mincy notched her first career double-double with 21 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
"Laurin did some of everything for us not just in this game, but in the game before it (vs. Louisville) as well," Frese said. "You could really see her expand her game to do everything from crashing the boards, steals, assists, anything to win. We've seen her show that talent off, but in this tournament run, she took over."
Brene Moseley dished six assists to help facilitate the two comebacks and hit the go-ahead shot in the final minutes.
"I can remember Brene's jumper to take the lead so well," Frese said. "She really wants the ball in her hands in those situations. That's one of the things I saw when I watched her in high school and why I was determined to get her here to Maryland. You have to have kids that want pressure to have a chance to win at the highest level. This game reinforced once again everything I believed about her when we recruited her."
Moseley found Tianna Hawkins inside to lay one in and to jump start the first half comeback. In those final seven minutes before halftime, the Terrapins went 10-for-10 at the foul line and outrebounded the Aggies 10-1. Maryland closed the first half on a 23-8 run and trailed 44-41 at the break.
Down by just three, everyone, including Coach Frese, thought the Terrapins would come rested and ready to start over. Thomas cut the Aggies' lead to one with a layup just a few seconds into the second half, but Texas A&M went on another run. This time, its lead grew to 12 at 60-48 just over six minutes into the second period.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Mincy off a fastbreak cut Texas A&M's lead to seven with 9:21 to play. Just as the Terrapins got going, Tianna Hawkins took a hard fall with them down six with 7:38 to go. She had to leave the game with 12 points.
"There was also amazing symmetry in both halves of the game, as A&M owned the first 10 minutes or so and we closed out both very strong," Frese said. "Of course doing that, we had to expend a tremendous amount of energy in a very physical game. Tianna took a really hard fall in the 2nd half and I wasn't sure she was going to get up. We had to find a way to do it without her."
The Terrapins kept pushing even without Hawkins inside. They got their first lead since the first minute of the game with a jumper by Moseley with 4:07 left. The Terps closed the game over the final 10 minutes on a 21-4 run and the Aggies went cold, shooting 2-for-14 from the field in that stretch. Maryland also outrebounded Texas A&M, 16-5, in those closing minutes to seal the win.
In front of many full sections of Terp fans that traveled down, Mincy scored 13 points in the second half and six rebounds. In the final 10 minutes, she was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-4 at the foul line to help seal with Rally in Raleigh with some of that Maryland Magic.
"The `Rally in Raleigh' and `Maryland Magic' were also made possible by the incredible fan support we got at this game in Raleigh," Frese said. "We really do appreciate how many of our fans traveled to support us. It's an incredible feeling when we play away from home and we see that sea of red clad fans cheering us on. They really rose to the occasion and gave us that extra lift."