The Big Ten Championship trophy presentation waited until after the final buzzer sounded on Maryland's thrashing of the Penn State Lady Lions. The Terrapins continued their march through the Big Ten toward an undefeated season cruising to a 65-34 win.
First half - Non-blowout blowout
The first media timeout of the half was the second timeout of the Monday night's game. The Terps led 5-0 when Shatori Walker-Kimbrough intercepted a pass and sprinted for an open layup prompting a quick timeout from Lady Lions head coach Coquese Washington. Lexie Brown's three pointer put the Terps up 10-0 and the Lady Lions didn't make their first field goal until 12:53 to play in the half.
However, Penn State's zone defense and plodding pace on every quarter-court offensive possession kept the Terrapins from turning the game into an early rout. Despite forcing nine early turnovers and holding an 11-7 rebounding edge, Maryland was hampered by uncharacteristically poor shooting both from the field and the free throw line as they struggled with the Lions' zone. The Terps also began turning the ball over and managed only a 20-8 lead with 7:53 to play in the half.
Maryland's eighth turnover of the half -- and the fourth by Lexie Brown -- led to a Penn State Layup and prompted a timeout by Terrapins coach Brenda Frese. Whatever motivational words she chose in that 30-second break seemed to get her squad more focused on the task at hand. Maryland finished the half on a 15-4 run and led 35-14 at the break.
Still, the lead should have been considerably larger. The Lady Lions finished the half with a 15-25 rebounding deficit and had more turnovers (15) than points (14). The Terrapins contained themselves, shooting just 42.4 percent from the floor and missing six of ten free throws.
Second half - More of the same
The turnover problem flipped sides early in the second half as the Terps committed three in the opening four minutes. The Lady Lions twice cut the lead to 18 before another steal and length of the court sprint for a layup by Walker-Kimbrough induced another Penn State timeout. Maryland had their largest lead at 42-20.
When Washington called her third timeout with 7:10 to play after a short jumper by Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland had extended the lead to 29 at 55-26. The Lady Lions' turnover count had reached 20, but the Terps were not handling the ball significantly better with 17 of their own.
Maryland's shooting woes from the outside combined with their propensity to turn over the ball allowed Penn State to continue to sit back in their zone. Only the Lady Lions' inability to convert on the offensive end stifled any possibility of a comeback. Although Penn State's point total would exceed their turnover total, they would finish with more turnovers than baskets.
One comment in our preview predicted that everyone for Maryland should play Monday night. When Aja Ellison entered the game with 3:07 to play, that prediction came to pass. The Terps closed out the sloppy 65-34 win with three reserve guards, Ellison and Kiara Leslie on the floor.
Penn State finished with 15 made field goals and 22 turnovers, but Maryland wasn't much better finishing with 20 turnovers and 25 made baskets. The teams combined to shoot just 14-of-32 from the free throw line. Maryland contributed 10 of those misses in 20 attempts from the charity stripe. After struggling on the glass in their two most recent road contests, the Terrapins dominated that statistic finishing with a 51-27 margin.
Individually, Brionna Jones led all scorers with 17 points and Tierney Pfirman came off the bench to lead the Terps with nine rebounds while adding eight points. Malina Howard pulled down eight boards while Maryland's guards also made a major contribution to the
Maryland wraps up their home season Thursday night when they host Indiana before closing the regular season at Northwestern Sunday afternoon.