North Carolina (23-0) took the early lead when Megan DuVernois tipped in a shot from Meredith Sholder in the 21st minute. Ten minutes later, the Tar Heels pushed their lead to 2-0 when Erin Matson scored off a rebound.
Trailing 2-0, Maryland picked up four penalty corners in the opening minutes of the second half, but were unable to convert. With 22:29 to play, the Tar Heels were awarded a penalty stroke. Terps junior goalkeeper Noelle Frost came in to face the stroke, which she saved off the right post. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Holliday made two saves for Maryland.
The Terps (22-3) controlled much of the second half, outshooting the Tar Heels 9-3 in the half and 9-8 overall.
"I couldn't be more proud of our team," Terps coach Missy Meharg said. "North Carolina has had an incredible season. To out-shoot and out-corner them is a great testament to Maryland. I couldn't be more proud of our performance. I think in sport, sometimes you look back and wish you had the second half before the first half. We learned some things in the first half and made great adjustments in the second half."
The shutout was North Carolina's 10th of the season and Maryland's first scoreless game since Sept. 1, 2017. Tar Heels goalkeeper Amanda Hendry had a season-high six saves.
This marked Maryland's 24th straight NCAA tournament appearance, the longest active streak in the country. The Terps have made 30 NCAA tournament appearances and are 63-23 (.736) all-time in NCAA tournament games, the highest winning percentage in the nation.
Maryland was seeking its ninth NCAA title and eighth under Meharg, last winning the championship in 2011. The Terps are 8-5 all-time in the NCAA championship game.
Sunday's game was the seventh championship game matchup between UNC and Maryland, with the Terps leading the series 4-3. The win marked the Tar Heels’ first national championship since 2009 seventh in school history, all under coach Karen Shelton.
Seniors Julie Duncan, Linnea Gonzales, Sarah Holliday, Olivia Reiter, Sabrina Rhodes and Melissa Wilken finished their Maryland careers with a record of 75-19, five Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles and two NCAA title game appearances.