Louisville All-American senior Shoni Schimmel scored 31 points, including a trio of three-pointers in the game's final minute, but it wasn't enough to overcome a late 12 point deficit and the Cardinals season ended with a 76-73 loss.
In a game that saw 12 lead changes, the Cardinals, who led 36-32 at the half, found themselves down by a dozen points with 2:03 remaining in the game. Playing in front of a loud crowd of 14,002, U of L nearly pulled off an amazing comeback.
Behind a combination of defense that forced 4 turnovers in the final 2 minutes, and dead-eye shooting from Shoni Schimmel, the Cardinals climbed back within three with 3.5 seconds to go. Out of timeouts and needing to go the length of the floor, Jeff Walz was given the opportunity to set up a final play when the Maryland bench called a questionable timeout.
Schimmel found herself with the ball on the with 2 seconds to go with an open look. She let go a three-pointer that seemed destined to find the bottom of the net, but instead fell short.
"It was my last shot and it just happened to be the one that didn't go," she replied, while holding back her emotions. "It sucks."
Clearly disappointed that the team fell short of their goal to reach the Final Four, Walz was tremendously proud of the determination they displayed.
"These kids fought," he said. "We're down 12 with 2 minutes to go and there was no quit in any of them."
The second half was a 20 minute stretch that frequented by whistles. The two teams combined to shoot 35 free throws during the second period, with the 4th-seeded Terrapins connecting on 22 of 24 from the charity stripe.
Antonita Slaughter added 16 points and Asia Taylor contributed 12 points and a team-high 8 rebounds.