Unfortunately, it would seem like the third time was the charm for the Blue Devils.
The Maryland women lost 74-63 in the semi-final to a team that they defeated twice in the regular season. Duke is always a threat, and they'll face No. 1 seed North Carolina in the ACC finals.
The loss is disappointing, but not crippling. One thing it almost certainly assures is that Maryland, the No. 5-ranked team in the last AP poll, will be a No. 2 seed. A final showdown with North Carolina might've pushed them ahead of Rutgers for that last slot, but it was not to be.
People always say losses are good for teams because they can learn lessons from their defeat and further motivate themselves to be better. I think that's pretty cliché.
Losing is losing. Sometimes, after a loss, teams regroup and focus, but that doesn't mean it's good to lose. No ... because losing doesn't prove anything. Only winning proves to yourself and everyone else that you have the salt to hang with the big dogs. Regrouping and focusing on improving is a necessity to survive a big loss. I think you can see from the photos how distraught the team was - would you say to their faces that the loss was good for them?
So what went wrong against Duke? Turnovers. Maryland had 19 to Duke's 10. If Maryland has an Achilles' Heel, it's turnovers - it's been a terrible problem for the entire season. Duke ended up taking 64 shots to Maryland 49 attempts. Why? More opportunities caused by more possessions caused by turnovers.
The Lady Terps are going to get their tournament going in two weeks at home, a lucky turn for them. Until they get out on the court once more, they should focus on ball control, avoiding travels, and making good decisions. Their shooting and rebounding are solid facets of their game. But to take it to the next level and beat the powerhouses that will be waiting for them at the top, they'll have to aim for some mistake-free basketball.
Good luck and Go Terps!