Grace Berger tried first. Then Mackenzie Holmes, and Aleksa Gulbe after that.
Three Hoosiers rose to the rim in the span of six seconds late in the first period, but none found the bottom of the net. One shot, two putbacks, but no payoff. It was that kind of opening period — that kind of night for Indiana.
Close, but not close enough.
After trailing by as many as 14 points during a forgettable opening quarter, No. 19 Indiana fought its way back but ultimately fell short in an 84-80 loss at No. 12 Maryland. The Terrapins have now won each of the 11 all-time meetings between the two programs.
In the latest head-to-head, a lopsided start proved to be the difference. Maryland — a high-powered offensive club — opened Monday night’s game on a 10-0 run and never trailed, putting Indiana in a tough spot. And yet, for as easily as the Terps can put the ball through the basket, Indiana has some firepower, too.
The Hoosiers made this a close game in the second half, chipping away at a 12-point halftime deficit. Grace Berger scored a career-high 26 points for Indiana, which ripped off a 12-2 run to start the third quarter and cut the Terps’ lead to 43-41. But Maryland outscored IU 16-4 over the final five minutes of the period, teasing and toying with the Hoosiers all night.
A 33-point fourth quarter saw Indiana whittle down a 16-point Maryland lead to three when Ali Patberg knocked down a 3-pointer with five seconds remaining. But by then it was too late.
Indiana made runs of its own, but couldn’t get enough stops to follow.
And couldn’t overcome the early hole.
“You cannot spot a team like Maryland 10 points right out of the shoot like we did tonight,” IU coach Teri Moren said. “You are then playing catch up. We gave them a ton of confidence and energy. We did not have an answer for (Ashley) Owusu; I thought she was really good tonight.
“The other frustrating thing was that there were moments where we had a nice offensive run going and then could not come down and get a stop. There was a period of time in the middle of the third quarter where we sort of lost our minds and we were not sharing the ball like we had. (We were) not taking good shots, but taking quick shots which led to runouts and open layups or easy layups for Maryland. That is what we wanted to stay away from. Really proud of the way we battled back, but we say we are not about the moral victory.”
Holmes posted a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds for IU, which returns to action on Thursday at Penn State.
Meanwhile, Gulbe, Patberg and Jaelynn Penn combined to shoot merely 30 percent from the field. Penn was one of two Hoosiers to leave the game with an injury, suffering an ankle injury midway through the second half. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary also took a shot to the face in the fourth quarter and did not return
It’s not clear whether either player will be available in State College.
“Time will tell if we will have either one of them on Thursday,” Moren said. “I kind of doubt it at this point, but that might be premature. The last thing I will say though, when you get 16 offensive rebounds you have to capitalize. We only scored six second-chance points, so that was frustrating. I thought we battled back, but you cannot dig the hole we did in the first quarter. You are playing uphill all night at that point and I thought that is what it looked like.”