Minnesota blown out by No. 7 Maryland on Senior Day

The Gophers failed to score over 50 points in a 55-point loss and honored their four seniors after game.

Guard Jasmine Brunson passes the ball through defenders at Williams Arena on Sunday, March 1. The Gophers fell to Maryland 99-44.

Nur B. Adam

Guard Jasmine Brunson passes the ball through defenders at Williams Arena on Sunday, March 1. The Gophers fell to Maryland 99-44.

Brendan O'Brien

The Minnesota women’s basketball team fell flat in its final game of the regular season, losing 99-44 to No. 7 Maryland.

Sunday’s game featured two teams heading in opposite directions to close out the season. With the win, Maryland extended its winning streak to 14 games and clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season championship. With the loss, Minnesota finished the regular season with a six-game losing streak, an overall record barely over .500 and will most likely miss the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season.

Minnesota saw some success early with a couple of quick offensive scores and defensive stops but it was short-lived, as Maryland responded with a 13-2 run at the end of the first quarter. The game seemed out of the Gophers’ reach during the second quarter as they only managed six points and shot just 15.4 percent from the floor. Maryland, on the other hand, closed out the first half on a 9-3 run to take a 26-point lead into the locker room.

Head coach Lindsay Whalen said Maryland’s defense and up-tempo pace caused many problems for Minnesota. The Terrapins turned 24 steals and 35 Gopher turnovers into 38 fast-break points.

“When you start five players six feet and over, they just switch everything and they make it tough on you and they trap,” Whalen said. “Obviously Brenda [Frese]’s a great coach … they keep you on your heels and they’re so long that they can switch everything. That’s a really good team.”

Maryland’s Taylor Mikesell lit up the Gophers from behind the arc, scoring a game-high 22 points from a 6-8 3-point shooting performance. Six Terrapins finished with double-digits in points.

Freshman guard Sara Scalia led the Gophers with 10 points and added three rebounds. Senior forward Taiye Bello added seven points and 10 rebounds in her final home game as a Gopher.

The Gophers are not the first team to fall victim in dominant fashion to Maryland this season. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Terrapins had a scoring margin of +25.9, good for best in the Big Ten and fourth-best in Division I.

Despite the loss, Sunday was a special day for senior guard Jasmine Brunson. Not only was it her last time playing at Williams Arena but after the game during the Senior Day ceremony, Brunson got engaged to her boyfriend Elijah Wright, something she said she was not expecting. However, Brunson said after the game she wants to forget the loss and redeem themselves in their first game of the Big Ten Tournament.

“Everything in me just kind of wants to throw this one away as bad as it might sound,” Brunson said. “As [Whalen] said it wasn’t us today and we have a great opportunity in practice on Tuesday and we have an even greater opportunity on Wednesday to go out there against Penn State and just bounce back.”

Minnesota finishes the regular season 15-14 overall after starting out 11-1 in non-conference play. The Gophers will play Penn State on Wednesday on the first day of the Big Ten Tournament.One of the Gophers’ five conference wins came against Penn State at the beginning of conference play.