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Sweet 16 Preview: High-powered Maryland faces defensive-minded Texas

The Maryland Terrapins’ juggernaut offense faces their toughest test of the tournament in the form of the turnover-forcing Texas Longhorns to close out the Sweet 16.

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Mount St. Mary’s v Maryland
Ashley Owusu has her team on the brink of a trip to the Elite Eight.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The No. 2 seed Maryland Terrapins face off the against the No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Terrapins are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2017 and it is their 10th appearance under head coach Brenda Frese. The Longhorns are back in the Sweet 16 for the first since 2018, with Vic Schaefer becoming the second head coach in program history to advance to the Sweet 16 in their first season.

The Terrapins are an offensive juggernaut, leading the nation in scoring with 91.8 points per contest, and are the only team in the country with six different players scoring in double figures. Maryland has been on a roll offensively in the tournament, scoring 98 points and 100 points, respectively, in the first two rounds.

Sophomore star Ashley Owusu is on track to break the season scoring record, currently averaging 18.1 points. The record was set by Kaila Charles in the 2017-18 season with 17.8 points. Additionally, Owusu is contributing 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds. Another super sophomore, Diamond Miller, is averaging 17.1 points and 5.8 rebounds. Senior guard Katie Benzan is another one to watch as she is scoring 12.9 points and is also shooting 50.8 percent from beyond the arc on a team-high 179 3-point attempts, which is over six attempts per game.

The Longhorns handled their first two opponents, the No. 11 seed Bradley Braves and the No. 3 UCLA Bruins, with ease. They held Bradley to 39 percent shooting from the floor and stepped it up in the second round by holding UCLA to 33 percent, including 1-of-19 on 3-point shots. Texas is notorious for forcing turnovers, averaging 19 turnovers forced this season. And it has scored at least 20 points off turnovers 14 times, going 13-1 in such games, including against Bradley.

Charli Collier, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 WNBA Draft, was a non-factor in the upset victory over the Bruins due to the fact that that the Longhorns jumped out to such a large lead. Look for the Texas offense to go to Collier, who is averaging 19.7 points and 11.6 rebounds this season, early and often.

Celeste Taylor and Joanne Allen-Taylor are two backcourt scoring threats for Texas, averaging 12.4 and 12.3 points, respectively. Taylor led the team with 24 points against UCLA, her fourth 20-point game of the season. Allen-Taylor has scored in double figures in seven-straight games and is shooting 50 percent from 3-point land over her last three games.


Game Information

No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns (20-9, 11-7 Big 12) vs. No. 2 seed Maryland Terrapins (26-2, 17-1 Big Ten)

When: Sunday, March 28 at 9 p.m. ET

Where: The Alamodome in San Antonio, TX

How to watch/listen: ESPN/Radio: Texas Audio

Key to the matchup: Maryland presents the most versatile offense in the country, scoring from the paint, on the drive and from deep, where they shoot 40 percent as a team. Texas will have to play tough, physical defense and put Maryland in tough situations on offense. Texas will need scorers like Celeste Taylor, Joanne Allen-Taylor and Audrey Warren to step up as the Maryland defense keys in on Collier over the course of the game.