Yesterday, the UCLA Bruins women’s basketball team won their NCAA First Round game against the Tennessee Lady Volunteers, 89-77. The sixth-seeded Bruins now move on the face third-seeded Maryland Terrapins in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Terrapins were the Big Ten regular season champs this season. In fact, Maryland started the season winning their first 12 games before suffering their first loss of the season at home against Rutgers. That game was the only game Maryland lost at home this season. Each of the three other losses the Terps have suffered came either on the road or on a neutral court. Michigan State and Iowa were the other teams to beat Maryland this season and the Hawkeyes were the only team to beat them twice. Iowa beat them once in Iowa City and, then again, in Indianapolis in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Three Terrapins have started all 33 games that Maryland has played. Not coincidentally, each of those players is averaging in double figures in points. Junior guard Kaila Charles leads the Terps with 16.8 points per game. Freshman guard Taylor Miksell is second on the team with 13.4 points per game, but she has played the most minutes of anyone on the team. Meanwhile, junior forward Stephanie Jones is averaging 12.7 points per game. Junior guard Blair Nelson has started 31 games this season and is averaging 8.5 ppg while freshman forward Shakira Austin should be Maryland’s fifth starter. While Austin is averaging just 8.2 points per game, she is the Terrapins’ leading rebounder with an average of 9.5 per game.
On paper, the Terrapins look like an amazing basketball team. Their shooting percentage, three-point percentage and their points allowed may it looks like the Bruins are going to have a really tough time beating them. But, anything can happen in the tournament and this game will likely come down to whichever team shoots the ball better tomorrow night.