Maryland women’s basketball was tested early Thursday against Purdue, but pulled away to win 85-70 and continue its perfect Big Ten season. The No. 3 Terps are now 10-0 in the conference and 22-1 overall.
Brianna Fraser set a new career high in scoring for the second straight game, pouring in 18 points on 15 shots. Brionna Jones recorded her 15th double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough didn’t replicate her 41-point outburst in Mackey Arena one year later, but still chipped in 12 points. They were joined in double figures by Ieshia Small’s 14 and Destiny Slocum’s 10.
Maryland’s scoring balance was on display Thursday, but its depth wasn’t. Six Maryland players logged at least 24 minutes, and Kaila Charles’ foul trouble kept her to 17. Beyond that, the rest of the squad played just 15 minutes total.
After making 60 percent of their shots Sunday against Iowa, the Terps cooled off, connecting on just 31 of 70 field goals (44.3 percent). They made up for it by hitting 7-of-17 threes and winning the boards 45-38 (it was 22-12 at the half).
The teams went back and forth for much of the first quarter before the Terps pulled ahead late. Fraser came off the bench at the media timeout and scored Maryland’s next eight points, including a pair of go-ahead three-point plays. The Terps finished the period on an 8-0 run to take a 25-19 lead.
Maryland extended its advantage to 12 points halfway through the second quarter behind the play of Jones, who finished the half with nine points and seven boards. But Jones picked up her second foul with 4:12 left, and the offense stagnated with her on the bench. Maryland went on a five-minute scoreless drought, missed eight straight shots and saw the lead whittled to five before Slocum nailed another long three at the buzzer.
#Terps lead 43-35 at the half after Slocum hits another DEEP buzzer beater. She's got 9 points and she's this good. pic.twitter.com/VB9YiAf7jJ— Connor Newcomb (@ConnorNewcomb_) February 3, 2017
The Terps inched further ahead in the third, but Purdue kept things close until late in the frame, when Maryland pulled away with a 9-0 run. The Terps led 65-48 through three quarters, with four Maryland players already in double figures.
Maryland kept its foot on the gas in the fourth, stretching the lead beyond 20 at multiple points. Brenda Frese emptied the bench in the final minutes.
Three things to know
1. Brianna Fraser starred off the bench again. The sophomore racked up eight points in her first three minutes of play, and she finished the first quarter with eight. She didn’t score in the second and only had two in the third, but turned it on late to finish with 18. That’s a new career high; her previous best was 17 just four days ago.
2. Maryland’s seniors both battled foul trouble. Jones picked up her second foul with four minutes left in the second quarter and Purdue immediately went on a 7-0 run. Both she and Walker-Kimbrough had three fouls by the third quarter, but they both stayed in and keyed the team’s pivotal run.
3. Maryland basketball is now tied for the best overall record in Division I. The Baylor men’s team lost Wednesday at Kansas, which dropped the Bears’ combined record to 42-3. Thursday’s win was the equalizer for the Terps. Both schools have 22-1 women’s teams and 20-2 men’s teams.