The Maryland women’s win over Georgetown Wednesday night might have gone a long way toward earning the Terrapins a top four seed in the NCAA tournament. The top four play at home through the first two rounds before the winners head to the final four at Stony Brook on Long Island Memorial Day weekend.
Although they must wait until May 6 to learn their spot in the bracket, the Terps (17-3) finished especially strong avenging regular-season losses to No. 7 Duke and No. 4 North Carolina in the ACC tournament and avoiding a letdown against the No. 16 Hoyas in the regular-season finale.
Coach Cathy Reese called Wednesday's Georgetown game, " a trap game," because of its timing. Coming on the heels of the ACC tournament, it was the Terps fourth game in six days and could have caught them both worn out and still soaring from winning a record fourth straight conference title. She said the Terps looked tired, but they pulled through 19-10.
Reese said she hopes the Terps, who earned an automatic bid with their ACC tournament title, finished strong enough to earn at least the fourth seeded spot. In the Inside Lacrosse media poll, the Terps rank fifth behind No. 1 Northwestern, No. 2 Syracuse, No. 3 Florida and No. 4 North Carolina. The win over Carolina could move the Terps into that fourth spot.
“I hope so,” Reese said, “but it’s hard to tell. Obviously, top eight is great. You get to host first round and if you come away victorious, you get to host the second round. Playing at home in the NCAA tournament is a nice thing to have. You’re able to do your normal routine in your own school and play in front of your own fans, but we’ll have to see how things play out.”
The Terps have one of the most overwhleming home field advantages in the country. They had won 36 straight home games before Syracuse ended the run earlier this season. In Reese's six seasons, the Terps are 59-2 at home. Since 1990, the Terps are 199-16 in College Park with 13 perfect seasons.
Maryland was the first team to earn its NCAA tournament bid. Northwestern, Syracuse and Florida compete in their conference tournaments the first weekend in May and those outcomes, of course, will impact the tournament seeds.
The Terrapins, who have won 11 national championships, fell to Northwestern, 8-7, in last year's title game. They won their last championship in 2010, defeating Northwestern, 13-11.