Syracuse squandered another chance to make a very big statement.
With victories over two ranked teams this year, including a stunning one on the road at No. 6 North Carolina on Thursday night, the Orange fell flat on Sunday against No. 8 Maryland and lost 89-64, blitzed by three 20-point spurts by the resurgent Terrapins.
The win snapped a three-game skid for Maryland (17-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), which got a season-high 31 points from freshman guard Lexie Brown and moved past the Orange to fifth in the conference standings.
"They came in with a sense of urgency," Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said. "You could tell they lost three in a row. They played tough. They played hard."
Syracuse (16-6, 5-4) was ranked for five straight weeks earlier in the season and reached a program high of 20th in late December. The Orange were on the cusp of returning to the Top 25 after that huge 78-73 win over the Tar Heels.
Syracuse had never won a road game against an opponent with such a lofty ranking and had also defeated then-No. 12 Texas A&M early in the season. But any chance of pulling off another upset on this day was undone by the unselfish Terps, who had 25 assists on their 35 baskets and hit 10 of 17 3-pointers.
"I wouldn't say we were tired," said Hillsman, whose Orange were soundly beaten 86-53 at home by No. 3 Duke in early January. "Obviously, playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference takes a toll on anybody."
The Terrapins were coming off two setbacks in a four-day span, an 87-83 home loss to No. 2 Notre Dame on Monday night and a 72-63 setback at No. 18 North Carolina State on Thursday night.
"Everybody contributed," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "They did a tremendous job sharing the basketball. For Lexie, it was fun to be able to watch. It's a great road win, but now for us every game you've got to get ready to play. In my 12 years, this is the deepest it's (the conference) ever been. You have to be ready to play every night. The ACC tournament is going to be wild."
The Orange dropped to 0-4 all-time against Maryland, including a 77-62 loss just two weeks ago.
Brianna Butler scored 22 points to help the Orange erase an 18-point deficit and beat No. 6 North Carolina 78-73 on Thursday night. She struggled against Maryland, going 4 of 20 and making just one of eight 3-point attempts.
"She got looks. It happens," Hillsman said. "She hits her average and it's a totally different ballgame."
Syracuse had won four straight and was seeking its 100th victory in the Carrier Dome, but the Orange were undone by three big Maryland runs in the first 25 minutes.
Brittney Sykes led Syracuse with 22 points, 14 in the second half in a futile attempt to rally the Orange.
Alyssa Thomas had a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. She tied Kristi Toliver for No. 3 all-time at Maryland with 2,078 points and Tianna Hawkins for third with 1,075. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 17 points and seven boards for Maryland, which beat the Orange 37-27 on the glass and outscored them 40-28 in the paint.
Brown was 11 of 13, including 7 of 8 from behind the arc, and had seven assists with five turnovers and three steals. Maryland shot 61.4 percent (35 of 57).
After taking an 8-4 lead on Sykes' three-point play, the Orange missed seven shots and committed four turnovers as Maryland went on a 20-5 run to take a 24-13 lead midway through the opening half.
The Terps repeatedly passed the ball over the Orange's 2-3 zone, converting seven times inside. Walker-Kimbrough had three of the baskets before draining a 3 that gave Maryland a 19-11 lead.
Butler finally halted the Maryland rush, hitting a pullup jumper along the baseline and a 3-pointer. A layup by Sykes closed the gap to 26-20 with 6:32 to go, but the Terps zeroed in from the perimeter, hitting four 3s in a 20-9 run to take a 46-29 lead into the locker room. Brown hit three from long range and finished the spurt with a jumper in transition after a Syracuse turnover.
Maryland broke it wide open early in the second, hitting eight straight shots in a 20-6 spurt to take a 31-point lead less than 5 minutes in. Brown hit a 3 to start it, Brionna Jones scored seven points inside, and Brown finished it with a 3-pointer from the right corner and a fast-break layup with 15:45 left.