The No. 5 Maryland women's basketball team led No. 7 Louisville for the entire third quarter and spent most of the fourth quarter ahead, too. But with three minutes and 15 seconds left in the game, Cardinals forward Myisha Hines-Allen made an and-one layup to give her team a 67-65 lead.
The Terps answered with a 7-0 run, capped with an and-one from guard Destiny Slocum, establishing a 72-67 lead. Louisville didn't responds in the final two minutes, and the Terps won in the KFC Yum! Center, 78-72.
"Big-time," guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough said about Slocum's bucket and foul shot.
A few minutes before, Walker-Kimbrough made a shot that was almost as important as Slocum's. Louisville opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run, taking a 64-62 lead at the 5:41 mark.
Walker-Kimbrough got her team even with a layup on the next possession and shushed the Louisville crowd as she turned and ran back down the court.
"They were getting really loud," Walker-Kimbrough said. "I wanted to lead [the crowd] to quiet down a little bit because we were still here and the game wasn't over."
Before Walker-Kimbrough's crowd-silencing score, coach Brenda Frese called a timeout she credited with helping her team recover from fatigue and stop the Cardinals' run.
Early in the game, though, it was the Cardinals who came out of a timeout firing.
The game was back-and-forth at the beginning, and Louisville entered the media timeout halfway through the first quarter leading, 11-9. Then, the Cardinals went on a 7-0 run out of the break, opening an 18-9 lead with a 3-pointer from guard Asia Durr with less than four minutes left in the first quarter.
That prompted Frese to call timeout, and her team closed the lead over the final minutes of the first quarter, ending the period down 24-20 after Slocum drained a 3-pointer with less than a minute left.
Those were Slocum's only points of the first half, as the Terps offense ran through the team's senior leaders, Walker-Kimbrough and center Brionna Jones.
"Our vets, Shatori and Bri, really led us in the first half, so we could settle in," Frese said.
The duo helped the Terps recover in the second quarter, contributing nine points in a 10-0 run early in the frame. Walker-Kimbrough entered halftime with 16 points, and Jones scored 14 while shooting 6-for-6 from the field.
At the other end, Durr kept her team in the game. She managed 15 shots and scored 17 points in the first half, helping the teams stay even for the rest of the second quarter and enter halftime with Maryland leading, 42-38.
Louisville went cold in the third quarter, making just two of their first 10 shots in the second half.
But after guard Kristen Confroy made three free throws late in the quarter to give her team a 62-53 lead entering the final 10 minutes, Louisville roared back with the 10-0 run, which Walker-Kimbrough ended.
"I wasn't concerned. I knew they were a great team going in, and great teams go on great runs," Walker-Kimbrough said.
After a stop on defense, Slocum drew a foul the next time down the court and made one of two free throws, but Hines-Allen's score erased margin.
Maryland responded with seven consecutive points. Jones and guard Kaila Charles made close-range buckets before Slocum was fouled on a fast-break layup.
"It's just playing basketball," Slocum said. "I've been in this moment before."
She converted the and-one, and the Terps made their free throws down the stretch to stave off Louisville and move to 7-0 on the season.
"Coming down the stretch, each play matters, each pass matters," Walker-Kimbrough said. "The little things matter … We just had to lock in. I knew we would be fine."