Maryland women’s basketball was thoroughly dominant Monday against No. 12 Ohio State, throttling the Buckeyes, 99-69.
The Terps are now 17-3 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten, and have now taken over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
Eleanna Christinaki was the spark for Maryland early, scoring 21 in the first half on her way to 26 points. Kaila Charles took over in the second half, scoring 22 points and a career high 32 for the game. Channise Lewis played possibly her best game even without scoring a single point, finishing with 10 assists and just one turnover.
Maryland committed just 10 turnovers for the game, and at one point went more than 17 minutes without giving it away. The Terps shot 54.9 percent from the field, their first time shooting over 50 percent in Big Ten play. They hit 11 three-pointers at an absurd 61.1 percent clip.
If enough things didn’t go right, Maryland did the near impossible of keeping Kelsey Mitchell in check. The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year took just 13 shots and scored 15 points. The Terps tried to make other players beat them, which is why Mitchell finished with seven assists.
After Ohio State got off to a hot start against Maryland last year, this time it was the Terps turn to return the favor. Christinaki scored Maryland’s first eight points, including two threes from the left side to give the Terps an 8-2 lead less than three minutes into the game.
Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff called timeout immediately after, but it didn’t result in much of a change. Jones and Charles scored back-to-back buckets to push the lead to 12-2. The Buckeyes tried to push back, but never got within five in the quarter. Christinaki didn’t let up either, hitting a jumper just outside the lane to give Maryland a 27-19 lead at the end of the opening frame.
The junior from Greece carried her hot hand into the second quarter, scoring the first eight points in the exact same way she started the game: jumper, three, three. By the time McGuff called a timeout with 7:58 left half, Christinaki and Ohio State had both scored 21 points.
After the timeout, the fifth-year coach probably thought he was experiencing deja vu. Once again, Charles and Jones had back-to-back buckets to push the lead to 39-21. Mitchell responded with a layup, but Confroy answered with a three to extend the lead to 42-23. The 19-point margin was Maryland’s largest of the half, and the Terps took a 50-35 lead into the locker room.
Ohio State scored the five points of the second half to cut the lead to 10, but that was the closest the Buckeyes would get for the rest of the night. Maryland scored the next six points, including two strong finishes from Charles in the lane.
If the first half belonged to Christinaki, then the second half belonged to the sophomore guard. The Maryland native started her impressive second half with 11 points in the third quarter, and hit a jumper to extend the lead to 66-46. At the time, the 20-point lead was Maryland’s largest of the night. Then with 25 seconds left in the quarter, Charles buried just her fifth three of the season from the right wing as the shot clock expired to give Maryland a 71-54 lead.
The Terps left no doubt about the outcome to start the fourth quarter, with Christinaki hitting another three and Fraser going coast-to-coast for the layup to push the lead back to 20 at 76-56. The lead grew to 32 in the final minute of the fourth quarter, and Aja Ellison hit a layup and Sarah Myers banked in a three with time winding down.
Maryland is back in action Thursday at Northwestern.
Three things to know
- Maryland started strong, and never took its foot off the gas. Frese said after the game that this was the Terps’ most complete performance from the season, and for good reason. Maryland got out to a fast start, and never really let the Buckeyes back into the game.
- Channise Lewis was the unsung hero. Charles and Christinaki were impressive, but Maryland wouldn’t have been able to be as efficient on offense without the freshman point guard. Lewis had more than 10 assists for the second time this season, with six coming on three-pointers. Lewis has certainly had her growing pains, but has looked better as of late.
- Maryland’s NCAA Tournament resume looks a lot better now. With Iowa fading fast, the Terps were in need of a better signature win. Maryland has that now, and although it still has some work to do to get a top-16 seed, are in much better position now.