COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)Abby Meyers matched her season high by scoring 24 points and No. 7 Maryland finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak with a 76-74 victory over No. 16 Ohio State on Friday night.
Lavender Briggs’ 3-pointer was part of an 8-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Terrapins (24-5, 15-3 Big Ten) a 73-69 lead.
Maryland then held off a late push from Ohio State (23-6, 12-6), which tied it at 73 with over three minutes left.
Meyers made a layup with 2:45 remaining to help Maryland regain the lead – an advantage the Terrapins wouldn’t relinquish as both teams went scoreless for the next two-plus minutes. Meyers missed a free throw, but made her second to make it a 76-74 lead with 11 seconds left.
Rikki Harris missed a pair of free throws with 10 seconds to go and the Buckeyes’ final shot went in after the buzzer had already signaled the finish.
”We practice all the time, 5 seconds left, this is where we get back to our fundamentals,” said Meyers, who tied a season high with 11 field goals and added six rebounds and three steals. ”Switching defense, high hands, don’t foul, make them make the really great play. We were able to win by a little bit and that’s all that matters.”
Meyers felt she was playing in the most fun game of her basketball career when she headed to Maryland’s sideline with her legs aching.
”Five seconds left and they had it out of bounds, and I come running and both my calves are just cramping,” Meyers said.
Cramps subdued, Meyers and the Terrapins had other plans as they beat Ohio State for the second time this season.
Brinae Alexander and Diamond Miller added 16 points apiece for the Terrapins, who had already earned a double bye in next week’s Big Ten Tournament.
”That felt like a game that you would see in (the) postseason here in March,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ”The mentality of being able to make one more play and just so many elements there of like Ohio State wanting redemption in our game and the emotions of that and being senior night.
”But I just thought just getting one more stop, and just you’ve seen how much we’ve grown as a team.”
Cotie McMahon led the Buckeyes with 20 points, while Taylor Mikesell added 18, Taylor Thierry 16 and Rebeka Mikulasikova 13.
The Terrapins, who led 38-33 at the break, shot 52% in the first half to Ohio State’s 48%.
”I thought both teams played really hard and competed at a high level,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. ”I’m disappointed for our team that when you put that much into it and our competitive spirit was terrific, our togetherness, all the intangibles were great. They just made one more play than we did.”
THE FINAL SEQUENCE
Thierry missed the final jump shot that counted and McMahon tipped it in after the buzzer and review, and the Terrapins’ defense hung on just long enough to secure their seventh win against ranked teams this season.
”I think it’s obviously hard anytime you’re on the road, and they really started driving us and drawing a lot of fouls,” Frese said. ”They’ve gained so much confidence defensively because when we needed to get some of those late game stops, we were able to get it.”
Maryland: After holding the country’s top scoring offense to 68 points in their win Tuesday over Iowa, the Terrapins defense had few answers for Ohio State. They allowed the Buckeyes to shoot 46% from the field, but kept them scoreless long enough to claim the win.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes will enter the conference tournament having lost one of their final three. They closed the regular season 4-6 in their final 10 games after starting the season 19-0, a program record.
Maryland: Meyers and the Terrapins will have either the No. 2 or 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes will have the No. 4 seed and a double bye in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday.
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll