The Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team closed out the first half of their inaugural Big Ten season with a 91-65 win over the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor Thursday night. The Terps remained a perfect 9-0 in conference play, winning five of their first nine on the road, and improved to 18-2 on the season.
First half - Teams on their runs
Maryland came racing out of the gate looking like they would turn the game into an early rout. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough started the party for the Terps by draining a three-point jumper off the opening tip. The Terps surprised the Wolverines by opening in a 1-2-2 zone and that led to a Michigan turnover and a breakaway layup by Lexie Brown. A blocked shot, two steals, and a Michigan miss later and Maryland led 11-0.
Michigan found Cyesha Goree open for a short baseline jumper. Once the home team found their footing, they went on an 8-2 run to close within five. The Terps extended the lead back to 17-10, but Michigan responded with another 6-0 run, prompting a timeout by an unhappy coach Brenda Frese.
The Terps led 21-18 when both teams got sloppy combining to commit turnovers on five consecutive possessions. Of the two teams, it was Maryland who recovered their offensive rhythm first. Clamping down on defense, the Terps went on a 13-4 spurt to take their largest lead at 34-22. Once again, Michigan had a response, chopping the lead back to single digits coming out of the final media timeout of the half.
Once again, just as it looked as though Maryland would blow the Wolverines out of their own gym when Laurin Mincy put together back-to-back three-point plays, one on a jumper and one the old-fashioned way that opened the gap to 46-29, Michigan bounced back with a jumper and their second and-one of the half. The Terps had possession with 33 seconds to play and a 14-point lead, but an ill-advised three-point attempt too early in the shot clock led to a Wolverines basket that allowed them to end the half trailing by only 12 at 48-36.
As they had at Indiana, Maryland shot well in the half making 19-of-35 shots including 3-of-6 from long range. Mincy and Walker-Kimbrough led the Terps with 14 and 13 points respectively. The Terrapins finished the last eight minutes of the half without a turnover and dominated the smaller Wolverines on the boards holding a 21-13 advantage.
Maryland opened the half with a perfectly executed high-low post sequence with Malina Howard feeding Brionna Jones for the layup. Howard followed with a jumper from the wing and the Terps led by 16, but not for long. Michigan scored the next four. Then, Maryland scored five straight, but the Terps, who picked up three early fouls, led 57-43 at the first media break.
The Terps managed a defensive stop out of the break but missed two inside chances and turned the ball over after a Wolverines basket. The ensuing three-point jumper cut the lead back to single digits. Timeout Maryland. And Frese's team responded with five straight. With 11:59 to play, Maryland led 64-50.
Out of the timeout, Maryland scored four straight. The lead had reached 18. Once again, the Terps struggled to keep pounding and after a turnover, a missed jumper, and missing the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, Maryland saw Michigan cut the lead back to 12. This, however, would be Michigan's last push.
It started when the Wolverines missed a wide open layup on a back door cut and the Terps strung together a handful of baskets. Back-to-back layups by Jones opened the lead to 76-56. Jones rebounded a miss by Walker-Kimbrough for her 10th of the game, picking up yet another double-double. She would finish with 13 points and a matching 13 rebounds.
Maryland led 85-63 with just under three minutes to play and Frese took all her starters to the bench. Kiara Leslie and Chloe Pavlech finished the scoring for Maryland, wrapping things up at 91-65 and giving the Terrapins a win in their first ever trip to Crisler Center.
Mincy led Maryland with 24 points. Walker-Kimbrough also reached the 20-point mark four the fourth time this season. Jones and Brown joined them in double figures. The fifth ranked Terps are now 18-2 on the season.
Added: Maryland never trailed and finished with a 49-25 rebound advantage. They held Cyesha Goree to 14 points and 4 rebounds - a point and a half below her scoring average and more than 6 below her rebounding average.
Maryland will return to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes in the only meeting between the teams this season.