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NYTimes
New York Times
25 Mar 2023


NextImg:Maryland Races Past Notre Dame to the Round of 8

GREENVILLE, S.C. — When Notre Dame and Maryland matched up in December, the game quickly became the Diamond Miller show. Miller, a 6-foot-3 guard, scored her 31st point on a game-winning, one-legged fadeaway jumper. She ran around Notre Dame’s home court with her index finger on her lips to silence the crowd.

On Saturday, in the round of 16 of the women’s N.C.A.A. tournament, Notre Dame seemed hellbent on stopping the Miller show. The Fighting Irish doubled-teamed — and sometimes triple-teamed — Miller when she got the ball in the post.

But Notre Dame’s stop-Miller-at-all-costs strategy left room for other players, who capitalized on open looks and kept the game close while Miller struggled. In the second half, Miller eventually got into a groove, and second-seeded Maryland beat No. 3 seed Notre Dame, 76-59. Maryland will advance to its first round-of-8 game since 2015. Miller and guard Shyanne Sellers led all scorers with 18 points apiece.

“I felt like they were daring me to shoot,” said Maryland guard Lavender Briggs, who scored 12 points.

Notre Dame threw the first figurative punch of the game. Down by 5, the Fighting Irish scored 13 straight points in the second quarter, neutralizing Miller and leading Maryland’s half-court offense into forced shots and errant passes that resulted in turnovers.

But in the second half, Miller got loose. And Maryland responded with a big third quarter, anchored by Miller and Sellers. Maryland cruised in the fourth.

Despite the eight-year drought, the round of 8 is familiar to Maryland and its coach, Brenda Frese. Since she started in 2002, Maryland has been among the best teams in college basketball. The Terrapins have made the round of 8 six times and won the program’s only national title in 2006.

Maryland will play the winner of South Carolina and U.C.L.A. on Monday.

Saturday’s games, all times Eastern.

Women’s Tournament

  • No. 1 South Carolina vs. No. 4 U.C.L.A., in progress, ESPN

  • No. 2 UConn vs. No. 3 Ohio State, 4 p.m., ABC

  • No. 1 Virginia Tech vs. No. 4 Tennessee, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2

men’s Tournament

  • No. 3 Kansas State vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic, 6 p.m., TBS

  • No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 UConn, 8:50 p.m., TBS