Maryland women’s basketball was in serious danger Tuesday against Indiana, but pulled through for a 74-70 home victory.
Although the No. 14 Terps entered as heavy favorites against a Hoosiers team that lost five of its first six Big Ten games, this was a back-and-forth game all night. The contest featured nine ties and 12 lead changes, including several down the stretch. Maryland went on the last run, and that was enough.
Kaila Charles overcame a slow first half to lead the Terps 16 points and six rebounds. Kristen Confroy added 15 points, while Stephanie Jones chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds; those two made 11 of their 15 combined field goal attempts. Channise Lewis didn’t get on the scoreboard until the last minute of the first half, but the freshman point guard finished with 12 points and six assists.
Maryland shot 49 percent from the floor and made 6 of 11 three-pointers and committed just nine turnovers, but struggled on the glass and lost the rebounding battle, 35-31. Indiana’s Amanda Cahill presented plenty of problems, recording 18 points and nine boards. Jaelynn Penn added 18 of her own and leading scorer Tyra Buss tallied 14.
After a strong first quarter, Maryland struggled in the second period and found itself tied 33-33 at halftime. Four Terps had two fouls in the first half, and the team shot just 37.5 percent from the floor and trailed the rebounding battle 18-15 in the opening 20 minutes. Confroy’s 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting kept her team afloat.
Confroy and Jones combined for 16 of Maryland’s 18 first-quarter points, and the Terps led 18-13 after the opening frame. Maryland scored four points and forced an Indiana timeout in the first minute, but the Hoosiers settled in and kept the game within reach. Indiana took a 29-25 lead late in the second quarter, and with three Maryland bigs in foul trouble, the Terps turned to Aja Ellison for her most significant minutes in some time. Maryland needed two late Channise Lewis threes, including one at the buzzer, to enter halftime tied.
The Terps came out of the break on a quick 7-2 run, and the lead was up to eight points halfway through the third quarter. But Indiana once again responded out of a timeout, tying the game with an 8-0 run. The Hoosiers took their first second-half lead with 38 seconds left in the frame on a banked three by Bendu Yeaney, and Buss nailed a triple of her own to give Indiana a 56-52 lead entering the fourth.
Cahill started the final frame with a three-pointer to extend the Hoosiers’ lead to seven points. They kept the lead until Lewis tied the game at the line with 5:08 remaining. The teams exchanged the lead for a while after that, and Eleanna Christinaki’s long jumper gave Maryland a 71-70 lead with 1:52 left. That score held into the final minute, when Charles’ jumper off the glass made it a three-point game. Indiana couldn’t buy a bucket at the end, and Christinaki ultimately iced the game at the foul line with 10 seconds left.
Maryland hosts No. 8 Ohio State on Monday. The Terps haven’t beaten the Buckeyes since their inaugural year in the Big Ten, and Ohio State is the favorite in the league this season. It’ll be a tough matchup, but Maryland has nearly a full week to prepare.
Three things to know
1. Maryland still misses Blair Watson. The Terps lost their second-leading scorer for the season last week, and since then, they’ve suffered a loss and encountered another scare against two unranked teams at home. They’ll need their best performance of the year to pull off a shorthanded victory against Ohio State next week.
2. Kaila Charles can’t have many off nights. The sophomore is Maryland’s premier offensive threat, and the team will go as far as she can take it. When she shot 1-for-7 and scored two points in the first half, Maryland was fighting to keep up with the Hoosiers. The Terps don’t win this game unless
3. Foul trouble almost cost the Terps dearly. Five different Terps finished with three fouls, but nobody had more than that; although some players had to sit out for parts of the second and third quarters, Maryland didn’t have many worries in this regard down the stretch.