The No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball team improved to 11-0 this season with a 79-60 win Tuesday at Loyola (Md.) in Baltimore.
The Terps took control of the game early, wasting no time opening up a double-digit lead. However, Maryland wasn’t in prime form for the second half, as a 25-point halftime lead finished at just 19.
Brionna Jones led the way with 25 points and 14 rebounds; the senior followed up her career night Thursday against Saint Peter’s (30 points, 14-of-16 shooting) with another strong outing. Fellow senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 17 for the Terps.
The Terps exploited their size advantage early and often. Maryland won the rebound battle 44-23, hauling in 20 offensive boards. Both teams shot under 50 percent in the game; Maryland’s second-half shooting percentage was just .367.
Maryland sank its first nine shots to jump out to a big lead in the opening minutes; a 13-0 run early in the frame set the tone. The Terps led 26-12 through one quarter thanks to a combined 15 from the two seniors.
At halftime, Jones and Walker-Kimbrough had 15 and 12, respectively. The duo outscored the Greyhounds by themselves, and Maryland took a 46-21 lead into the locker room. Loyola was held scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter, as a 12-0 Maryland burst put the Terps up by as many as 26.
In a strange twist, Brenda Frese’s team didn’t look quite like itself in the third quarter. Loyola began the second half on a 10-2 run, trimming the lead to 17. Maryland looked like it was going to pull away again, but the Greyhounds stayed tough. They outscored Maryland 24-18 in the third quarter, with point guard Bri Betz-White racking up nine points in the period.
These struggles forced the Terps to play their starters well into the fourth quarter, which certainly wasn’t the plan. Maryland was a little sharper in the final frame, but didn’t return to its dominant form from the first half and the rest of the season. The margin never rose well above 20 points, and was as small as 15 at times.
Even so, the outcome was never in doubt, and Maryland now has time to regroup before taking the floor again.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s second half was surprisingly poor. There was really nothing to indicate such an outing was coming, as the team was dominant early on. Missed shots, sloppy turnovers and defensive lapses all contributed to the relative skid. The Greyhounds outscored the Terps by six in the third period, and the teams tied at 15 in the fourth.
2. The turnover bug bit back. After committing only six turnovers Thursday against Saint Peter’s, Maryland matched that total by the middle of the second quarter in this one. The Terps finished with 19 giveaways, but they did a good job of minimizing the damage, holding Loyola to 13 points off those turnovers.
3. Time for a break. It’s finals week, with exams starting Wednesday. The Terps will be back in action on Dec. 21 at Duquesne, in what will be a homecoming for Walker-Kimbrough (Monday was essentially Jones’ such game, although Maryland makes the trip north every few years).