Maryland women’s basketball took care of business on the road Sunday, knocking off Michigan State, 89-72, at Xfinity Center. The Terps extended their best start in school history to 25-1, and are now 13-0 in Big Ten play.
Maryland’s seniors led the way again, as Brionna Jones had 28 points and 15 rebounds and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 24. Kristen Confroy also added 10 points, scoring in double figures for just the fifth time this season.
Tori Jankoska led the Spartans with 23 points on 8-of-19 shooting, while Branndais Agee and Kaya Reimer added 16 and 11 points, respectively.
The Terps didn’t play great defense, allowing Michigan State to shoot 45 percent from the field, but the Spartans did not take advantage of easy opportunities. Michigan State came into the game as the second-best free-throw shooting team in the Big Ten, but shot just 6-of-15 from the foul line.
Maryland hit five of its first six shots out of the gate, but three early turnovers allowed Michigan State to stay in the game. Mardrekia Cook tied the game at 11 on a layup with 4:27 to go in the first quarter, but missed a free throw to take the lead.
The Terps responded with a 14-2 run, with seven of the points coming from the foul line, but the run came to a screeching halt when Destiny Slocum was called for her second foul with 1:13 left in the first quarter. Ieshia Small took over at point guard and Maryland’s offense struggled, with Small missing a jumper and getting called for a charge, and Jones getting called for a travel.
The Spartans scored the last six points of the quarter, cutting the Terps’ lead to 25-19.
Slocum remained on the bench and Maryland’s offense continued to look stagnant except for Brianna Fraser, who scored six straight points to start the second quarter. The Spartans cut the lead to five at one point, and Brenda Frese called timeout after a three-pointer from Jankoska cut the lead to 39-33. The Spartans senior reached 2,000 career points on that shot.
Slocum hit a three out of the timeout, starting a 10-2 run that pushed Maryland’s lead up to 49-35, which was their largest lead up to that point, and the Terps led 51-40 at halftime.
After shooting 51.5 percent in the first half, the pace of the game started to catch up to Michigan State. The Spartans shot just 25 percent in the third quarter, and Jankoska did not score a point.
Maryland struggled a little as well, shooting 40 percent and turning the ball over six times, but Michigan State’s poor shooting allowed the Terps’ to extend the lead to 67-49.
Jankoska scored the Spartans first five points to start the fourth quarter, and she hit two foul shots to cut the lead to 83-72 with 1:26 to go. Walker-Kimbrough responded with a three on the other end to put the game away and ensure a 13th straight win.
Three things to know
1. Michigan State threatened Maryland a few times, but never really closed the gap. This could have been a potential trap game for the Terps, as the Spartans upset Ohio State at home earlier this season. Michigan State showed why, as they never quit or let Maryland get too comfortable. Frese was smart with her timeouts, calling them whenever the Spartans looked to be back in the game.
2. Turnovers were once again an issue. Maryland had 18 turnovers Thursday against Illinois, and had 18 again Sunday. They haven’t been as much of an issue for this year’s team, but that number needs to go down when they play tougher competition.
3. Stephanie Jones is seeing an increased role. Brionna’s younger sister played a career-high 17 minutes, the most for any player off the bench. She’s now played 31 minutes in the last two games, which as many as she played in the previous 10 games combined. Maryland’s depth has been an issue at time this season, but it looks like the younger Jones is now another option.