Women’s basketball falls to Maryland 103-61, sends off inspiring senior class

Bri Pomonis, Sports Co-Editor

Women’s basketball wrapped up their 2016-17 season after falling to Big Ten opponent University of Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The 14th-seeded Bison were coming into the tournament hot off winning a highly contested Patriot League Championship title over Navy. With 27 wins this season, the Orange and Blue had topped the team record for most wins in a season for the second consecutive year. The Bison were hungry for their first March Madness win going into their third appearance in the tournament, the last time being in 2008.

Maryland posed a steep challenge for the underdogs. After winning one of the most competitive conferences in college athletics with a record of 30-2, the Terrapins reigned the highest-scoring team in the nation, averaging 89.9 points per game. The Bison had a 0-19 record against similar Big Ten opponents.

“This team [seemed] to be a bit bigger, faster, and stronger than most of the teams in the Patriot League. We knew that we would have to be more physical and tougher than we had ever been before,” starter and team captain Megan McGurk ’17 said.

“There was not one player that we did not have to worry about, because they are all threats on the court. I don’t think any team can truly prepare you to play a team like Maryland besides Maryland. March is just a different style of basketball,” Kaitlyn Slagus ’19 said.

McGurk was the first on the scoreboard after making a 3-pointer. The Orange and Blue managed to snag a lead early on, but Maryland was quick to respond with quick transitions and low-post plays to retaliate against the Bison lead, resulting in a 45-22 lead at halftime and a 103-61 win.

Power-trio Claire DeBoer ’17, Suné Swart ’17, and McGurk completed their time in Bison jerseys by leaving their mark in program history. Swart contributed 14 points in the March 17 game, tied for second most points scored in a NCAA Tournament game in Bison history. DeBoer totaled six rebounds, five points, and three assists. With 1,678 career points, she holds ninth place for the Patriot League’s all-time scoring list. McGurk trails closely in 10th place with 286 assists.

“These seniors have truly been the group to turn this program around,” Slagus said. “They committed to a team that was winning five games a season and are now graduating from a team that only lost six games this season. Throughout their four years here they have not only changed the stat sheet but have also changed the culture of this program for the better. Future players will know the impact these three had on this program.”

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