(photo credit: AP)
Shay Doron's career as a Maryland Terrapin came to a bitter end Tuesday night when she fouled out of a 89-78 loss to No. 7 seed Mississippi in the second round of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
The second-seeded Terps struggled with the attacking, swarming Ole Miss defense almost from the opening seconds of the game. After Maryland took a 6-2 lead, the Rebels went on an 18-0 run that stunned the defending national champions.
With Mississippi forcing turnover after turnover, it pushed its lead to a whopping 23 points and went into halftime ahead 47-30. Maryland gave up the ball 20 times in the first half alone, after averaging 18.3 turnovers per game during the regular season.
Terrapin coach Brenda Frese was visibly upset with her seasoned squad, and Maryland struggled to make a comeback in the second half.
A 12-4 Maryland run got it to within seven (79-72), but sapped whatever energy the defending national champs had and they could not get any closer.
When it was all over, Ole Miss had scored an insurmountable 42 points off a total of 29 turnovers.
It marked the earliest exit for a defending women's national champion in NCAA history, tying second-round exits by Purdue in 2000 and Notre Dame in 2002. (Old Dominion won the tournament in 1985 but was not selected in 1986.)
The loss also broke Maryland's 31-game win streak versus non-conference opponents and seven-game NCAA tournament win streak.
Doron had an especially disappointing game after leading Maryland with 21 points in the first round. She committed two fouls in the first three minutes of the game, en route to zero points in the first half. The dual Israel-USA citizen finished the game with nine points and four assists before fouling out with 1:25 left to play.
Doron will leave Maryland as one of the most decorated players in program history. She was All-ACC three times, and the all-time leader at Maryland in free throws.
She will also always be remembered as one of the pivotal players involved in Maryland's first-ever national title. Doron and Aurelie Noirez were the only two seniors on Maryland's roster this season.