Entering the final quarter, No. 6 Indiana and No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball were separated by six points. It felt like a tie game.
There was an atmosphere in Assembly Hall comparable to an NCAA Tournament game, and one missed opportunity could change the matchup’s trajectory.
The Hoosiers’ late 9-0 run fueled by Grace Berger, who returned to Indiana’s lineup Thursday night from injury, helped Indiana pull away after Maryland crawled back to tie the game in the fourth quarter of the contest that resulted in a 68-61 win for the Hoosiers, ending Maryland’s six-game win streak.
“This one hurts, I’m really mad right now,” Maryland guard Diamond Miller said after the game.
The leading scorer for Maryland was Brinae Alexander, who finished with 15 points.
“She was huge. Brinae can really shoot the basketball,” Frese said. “I thought she played with a lot of poise and confidence and we needed every one of those 15 points with just some very uncharacteristic off nights that we had from the rest of our starting five.”
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese noted early that her team’s assist-to-turnover ratio was not where it needed to be. Her biggest takeaway was that her team needed to be tougher.
“I've never seen us spin-dribble so many times,” Frese said.
Both teams flexed their scoring muscles early, with sophomore Shyanne Sellers draining 3-pointers for Maryland and Indiana finding success through Mackenzie Holmes — its leading scorer — and Chloe Moore-McNeil. Six lead changes in the first quarter made for an exciting start.
The Hoosiers dominated the paint early, outscoring Maryland 14-2 in the first quarter. The ensuing 10 minutes were filled with 3-pointers from Indiana’s Sydney Parrish, a transfer from Oregon, who hit two long balls three minutes into the second period. It was part of a 10-3 Indiana run where it went 4-for-4 from the field.
“I didn’t think we necessarily was going to stop her but we tried to limit her as best as we could. Sydney Parrish’s shooting was impeccable today and we didn’t do a good job stopping her,” Miller said.
Maryland, on the other hand, struggled to muster offense during the second quarter and went on a dry spell exceeding four minutes. Attribute that to Indiana’s tight half-court defense and ability to trap senior forward Diamond Miller, who made one field goal in the first half.
Indiana, which entered the game with the Big Ten’s best scoring defense, pushed the pace of play and wore Maryland down late in the first half. The scoring spell saw the Terps go down double digits. Twenty of the Hoosiers’ 37 points were scored in the paint during the first half. Maryland had just six.
The game was exciting down the stretch, as a struggling Maryland team found itself down just six heading into the final quarter. Key players on both teams were in foul trouble, making each play important. Miller’s 3-pointer with 7:06 left made it a two-point game and signaled a possible momentum shift after Miller’s lackluster start to the game.
The Terps’ late push wasn’t enough to carry them to victory, though, as Indiana pulled away late.
Three things to know
1. Low scoring. Maryland scored seven points in the second quarter, the fewest it has scored in any quarter this season. Indiana showed why it is the top defensive team in the Big Ten by limiting Maryland’s top scorers; the Terps saw their first double-digit deficit of the game Thursday. The struggle continued into the third quarter, and going into the media timeout, Maryland was 1-for-7 from the field.
2. Indiana’s stifling defense. The Hoosiers were scrappy. They made Miller, Meyers, Sellers and others work for every single point they scored. The trio combined for 37 at the end of the game. The Terps hung in the game and kept it close in the third quarter in particular but couldn’t keep pace in the final minutes of the game.
3. No Faith. Faith Masonius did not see much action in the third quarter and early in the final quarter, as she — routinely identified as Maryland’s “glue player” — picked up her fourth foul. She finished with just four points Thursday.