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Sweet 16 Recap: Lambert makes game-winning layup off Ebo steal, Texas upsets Maryland in thriller

Lauren Ebo and Kyra Lambert came up clutch, as did Celeste Taylor and Joanne Allen-Taylor and the Texas Longhorns needed every bit of that clutchness to come back and defeat the Maryland Terrapins. Charli Collier led the winners in scoring as they advanced to the Elite Eight.

Texas v Maryland
Kyra Lambert (left) helped Texas upset a Maryland team that had been dominant.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The No. 6 seed Texas Longhorns did everything they needed to do, getting clutch play from their guards, a rebounding margin of plus-one and a defensive effort that held the best scoring offense in the nation in check, to defeat the No. 2 seed Maryland Terrapins 64-61 on Sunday night in San Antonio.

It was a nail-biter, though.

Texas’ Celeste Taylor made a deep two to tie it with 59 seconds remaining and Kyra Lambert followed with a fast break layup off a Lauren Ebo steal to give Texas a two-point lead with 44 ticks left. Lambert and Taylor then combined to go 2-of-4 from the line and Texas was left with a four-point lead with 14.3 seconds to go. Maryland’s Ashley Owusu then drove hard to the basket and missed a tough layup.

After that Ebo made a free throw to make it a five-point Longhorn advantage and Diamond Miller’s layup with 0.1 seconds left was not enough for Maryland.

Projected No. 1 WNBA Draft pick Charli Collier quietly led the way for Texas with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor added 15 points and 11 boards, while Joanne Allen-Taylor had 14 points and five assists for the winners.

Miller had a game-high 21 points and added eight boards in defeat.

Texas won even though one of its key players in Audrey Warren had to leave after her head hit floor with 4:50 to play.

With 5:07 to go in the third, Allen-Taylor made a huge three to cut Texas’ deficit to one. It was at the end of a long stretch where the Longhorns went away from Collier, who made two free throws a little later to give Texas its first lead of the game at 42-41. The rest of the third was hard-fought and Texas exited up two.

Miller scored Maryland’s first seven points of the second for a 7-3 individual run vs. Texas that opened up a 25-15 Terp lead. However, Texas responded like it had already done earlier in the game with Allen-Taylor making a triple and then knocking down three free throws after being fouled on another three attempt to cut it to 28-23. That’s as close as the Longhorns got in the final 6:34 of the second and they trailed 32-25 at the break.

Maryland got off to a hot start. Sharpshooter Katie Benzan made a 3-pointer just 13 seconds in and the Terps went on to lead 13-2 before Texas stormed back with a 10-0 run thanks to pressure defense, threes from Lambert and Allen and four points from Collier.

Texas advances to face the No. 1 seed South Carolina Gamecocks in the Hemisfair Region final.