With a game high of 21 points in Sunday’s game against Maryland, freshman guard Kaela Davis could have lead Tech to a victory over No. 8 ranked Maryland. However, Davis’ personal highlights could not cover Jacket’s weakness in rebounds, which contributed to the Jacket’s 62-79 loss to Terps and dropped Tech to 17-9 (7-6 ACC) on the season.
In addition to her 21 points, Davis also contributed a team high 11 rebounds. Junior guard Sydney Wallace, sophomore guard Aaliyah Whiteside and sophomore forward Roddreka Rogers each scored ten points, with Whiteside also grabbing nine rebounds.
Maryland opened up the scoring at the 19:45 mark on a three pointer by Katie Rutan and then quickly established a 7-0 lead in the following two minutes, but a three-point shot by Wallace ended the Terps’ run.
Led by the shots from Davis and senior guard Tyaunna Marshall, Tech then went on a series of attacks to make the score 13-12 in Maryland’s favor. Although Tech could have taken the lead, Maryland was able to take advantage of a foul by sophomore center Nariah Taylor and scored seven points in the next five minutes, giving Maryland a 20-12 lead.
Nevertheless, Tech’s Davis pulled Tech closer in the last two minutes before the end of halftime. With 1:27 remaining in the half, Wallace stole the ball from Maryland, passed it to Davis, who missed a jumper but quickly won the rebound. Davis tried another jumper off the rebound, but this time it was good. Thirty seconds later, Wallace missed a three-point shot, but Davis got the rebound off the miss and scored to pull the Jackets within 35-26 at halftime. Davis went into the locker room with a team high of 13 points.
“She [Davis] is a complete player, obviously,” said Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph. “And at the next level, she needs to add [three pointers] and that’s one thing that I would say that would make her an even better player. She’s already very hard to defend. She’s the best player in the country and as a freshman she’s a force to be reckoned, for sure. She’s powerful, strong, a great rebounder and just does a lot of little things to help her team win.”
Tech had trouble rebounding to begin the second half, which led to a series of layups by Alyssa Thomas, Alicia DeVaughn and Lexie Brown, extending Maryland’s lead to 45-29. Davis’ jumper bumped Tech’s score to 33, before Whiteside and Rogers scored eight points each.
However, their efforts still could not help Tech cut the gap with Maryland. With Rutan adding 12 points to the Maryland scoreboard, Tech had to accept the result of 79-62 at the end of the game.
“I definitely think that Aaliyah Whiteside and Roddreka Rogers played well together and seems like they did a really good job finding each other in the inside and gave us another dimension. You know, I thought both of them shot the ball and they need more shots, honestly, on the inside. I think both of them did a good job going to the board, especially Whiteside,” Joseph said.
Tech’s interior defense struggled for most of the game, allowing Maryland to score 60 of their 79 points in the paint. Maryland also out-rebounded the Jackets 49-41.
“We had a hard time, especially when they [Maryland] are inside,” Joseph said. “They scored 60 points in the paint and the first thing I would say is we are going to go back and look at our post-defense and figure out what we were doing in the post to give up so many points in the paint. You know, we are not a team that usually gives up so many rebounds.”
Tech’s offense faced a great challenge from Maryland’s high pressure at the defense end, which made it difficult for Tech to pass the ball into the paint area and forced Tech players to seek opportunities by playing one-on-one. Tech only scored 26 points on 30 percent shooting in the first half, and the overall field goal percentage was 12.8 percent lower than Maryland’s.
“Maryland won a lot of credits,” Joseph said. “I think they came out and played really hard and really won us especially on the defense event, and I think that’s one of the best defense effort I’ve ever seen that the Maryland team gave.”
Joseph believed that teamwork was also discarded in favor of a more individualist style of play.
“I’m sure it is a good intention that each player was trying to make a play but it seems like each individual is putting on our shoulders to try to win the game,” Joseph said. “You know there’s no doubt that we have to go back and look at that and figure it out.”