The Maryland Lady Terrapins didn’t have a lot to play for on Senior Night. The fifth-ranked Terps had already wrapped up the Big Ten regular season championship, coming through on the preseason picks by the media and the league’s coaches. They had already beaten the Indiana Lady Hoosiers in their first meeting this season, 84-74 at Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Jan. 25, and came into the rematch on Feb. 26 on a 19-game winning streak.
Before the game, Maryland took the time to honor both Andrea Mize and Laurin Mincy, the graduating seniors from each team. Maryland head coach Brenda Frese presented flowers to Mize, and then a tribute video was played on the scoreboard, honoring the career of Mincy, a redshirt senior from Newark, New Jersey. Mincy came into the game among the program’s all-time leaders in points (1,238), three-pointers made (120) and free-throw percentage (86.4). She was joined at center court by her family, and was presented with a framed black jersey. She then proceeded to give the home fans at Xfinity Center a lot to cheer about.
Mincy scored a career-high 28 points to lead four players in double-figures as Maryland (26-2, 17-0 Big Ten) pulled away for an 83-72 win to complete the season sweep of Indiana (14-14, 4-13 Big Ten) in front of a crowd of 5,601. The game itself got off to a slow start. Both team went scoreless for the first 2:16, until Malina Howard knocked down a jump shot for Maryland. That was the first of four straight field goals by the Terrapins. However, despite poor shooting, Indiana kept hanging around, until Howard went on a one-woman run. She made two short jumpers, got fouled on a layup and made the free throw to complete a three-point play for seven straight points to give Maryland a 36-25 lead with just under five minutes left in the first half.
The Hoosiers responded with a 6-2 run to pull with seven at the media timeout with 3:06 left in the half. Maryland re-established some breathing room by making their last three shots to close the first half with a 9-4 run, capped by a Mincy three-pointer from in front of the Indiana bench, for a 47-35 halftime lead. Mincy finished the first half with 15 points to lead all scorers. The first half proved to be very physical, with several Maryland players coming up limping after hard collisions, some of which weren’t whistled for fouls. Frese said she was disappointed with how the officials handled those collisions.
“Maybe I need to go back and read the rule book and go back to see what constitutes a foul,” Frese said, adding that the amount of physicality that the officials allowed by both teams during the game was indicative of what Maryland can expect during postseason play.
In the second half, Maryland missed its first five shots before Lexie Brown took the ball to the basket for a layup, got fouled and completed the three-point play. She followed that up with another layup the next trip down the floor to give Maryland a 52-39 lead just over three minutes into the half. Mincy added a jumper and a three to give the Terps a 60-44 lead with 13:41 left, but Karlee McBride and Jess Walter combined to hit four straight threes to bring Indiana back within four, 62-58, with just under nine minutes left. Maryland finally seized control after the final media timeout. After Larryn Brooks made a free throw to make it 71-62 with 3:59 left, the Terps went on an 8-2 run over the next 1:40 to take a 79-64 lead, and wouldn’t look back from there. Maryland finishes the season undefeated at home, and will attempt to go undefeated in the Big Ten on Sunday for Senior Day at Northwestern.
Mincy says she’ll miss her teammates and the Maryland fans the most, and she wanted to play competitively in her final regular season college home game.
“I didn’t have a Senior Night in high school, so obviously I wanted to come out here and play hard. I had a lot of family and friends and fans here, so I wanted to go out with a bang.” She says it hasn’t really sunk in for her yet that she’ll be moving on after graduating in May. Frese praised Mincy for being willing to battle through injury during her five years with the team.
“You talk about five years, three surgeries, the adversity she had to face, and that she battled. Often times, young people anymore don’t want to fight through tough times. They don’t want to go through it; they don’t want to feel uncomfortable,” Frese said. “She’s a living example and why she has the utmost respect of her staff and her teammates, because that’s what she did. She put her head down, she went to work, and she battled, and will always have a special place in my heart because of that.” Howard said the team wanted to reward Mincy for all the effort she’s put into the program.
“Having a senior like Laurin, it’s just really special to send her out that way. She’s put so much into the program. She means a lot to all of us. We all love and care about her, and so just to have a teammate that you care that much about, you just want to send them out on the right note,” said Howard, who finished with a season-high 16 points, along with six rebounds.
During halftime, the Terps honored their three graduating student managers. During the first media timeout in the second half, the graduating seniors from the pep band were also recognized on the video board.