The agony of defeat

The U women’s basketball team found themselves within reach of a ticket to the Final Four Monday night, but after a hard fought battle, it was Maryland that earned the trip to Boston to continue their run toward a national title.

After only scoring one point in the first half, Ute senior Kim Smith erupted for the Utes first 16 points in the second half, but the Terrapins proved to be too much, as they defeated the Utes in overtime, 75-65.

The Utes found themselves down 56-47 with 9:56 left to play, but huge baskets by Heidi Carlsen and Julie Larsen helped Utah to close in on the Terps.

Freshman Morgan Warburton later hit two huge shots back-to-back to pull within one point of Maryland with 1:53 and the teams each missed shots until the Utes had the ball with less than 30 seconds to play.

Coming off a painful first half ankle injury, Shona Thorburn held on to the ball as the clock wound down, until she penetrated towards the basket, drawing a foul with seven seconds remaining.

She missed her first free-throw opportunity, but converted on her second attempt to tie the game, giving the Terrapins seven seconds to get a shot off.

Freshman Kristi Toliver then took the ball down for Maryland and launched a last second three-point shot, which was rebounded by Shay Doron with one second left, but she was unable to score at the buzzer.

The Utes’ impressive comeback in regulation gave them a chance to win, but it was all Maryland in overtime.

The Terrapins held the worn out Utes to just two points in the extra period, helping themselves to the ten-point victory.

Smith finished the game with 17 points and 18 rebounds, Larsen added 13 points, and Thorburn scored 10 points in their final game with Utah.

It appeared as if Toliver and Smith were having a shoot-off during the opening minutes of the second half, as Toliver responded to Smith’s offensive outburst by scoring 13 of the Terrapins first 21 points.

Her scoring helped Maryland to take their nine-point lead before the Utes went on their 16-7 run to send the game into overtime.

Toliver finished the game with career highs of 28 points and six three-pointers, and Crystal Langhorne scored 16 points and grabbed ten rebounds in the victory.

The Utes will be honored for their performances in the tournament with a pep rally today at noon.

The rally will take place at the northeast side of the Huntsman Center, and the public is invited to attend.