When the weather outside is frightful, a Terps win over a ranked opponent can be so delightful.
Despite a below-average shooting night, No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball was able to use its hot first quarter to put away No. 18 Iowa, 80-64.
Kaila Charles bounced back from a quiet performance against Penn State with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Blair Watson had 13 points and Channise Lewis added 11 with eight assists. Iowa star center Megan Gustafson had 15 points and 15 boards, but it wasn’t enough.
Maryland waited to put pressure on Iowa the same way a leopard slowly stalks its prey before attacking. After giving the Hawkeyes some breathing room by allowing two consecutive threes to start the game, the Terps began to push the ball upcourt with more speed and began a full-court press.
Sophomore guard Kaila Charles thrived in heightened pace, scoring 12 points in the first quarter. The hot hand seemed infectious as the team made eight straight shots at one point. The Terps ended the quarter on a 12-4 run and led 31-17.
But the Hawkeyes showed they still had some fight in them at the start of the second quarter. Iowa took advantage of the Maryland press that been growing more and more lax throughout the game and scored a quick 9 points, while the Terps went 0-9 from the field. They did not make their first field goal until five minutes into the quarter.
Senior Hawkeye forward Chase Coley was the spark off the bench for Iowa. She used her size to bully Maryland down low, and even showed off some midrange shots that the Terps did not close out on. Though Brenda Frese’s squad was outscored 21-18, the team maintained a double digit lead going into the half up 49-38.
Both teams must have spent the halftime break outdoors because the shooting was ice-cold from both ends. The Terps went 3-of-19 from the field; the Hawkeyes went 3-of-14 and turned the ball over eight times. The bright spot for Maryland was Stephanie Jones, who was the only Terp who had scored anything from the floor for a majority of the quarter. She ended the quarter with five points, and even had one of the games highlights, driving the length of the court on her own for a fast-break layup. She also led the Terps’ frontcourt through a quarter where they were actually able to out-rebound the taller Hawkeyes squad.
Like any good Maryland team, the Terps used a late second-half push to put away their opponents. Three straight threes from Blair Watson (twice) and Channise Lewis put the Hawkeyes on notice that Maryland wasn’t letting them back in it. The hot start carried throughout the quarter, as the team doubled its field goal percentage from the third quarter. The Terps took heat to a 80-64 victory over the Hawkeyes for their 12th straight win.
Maryland will face their next opponents away against Wisconsin on Sunday, January 7, at 3:00 pm EST.
Three Things to Know
- Maryland was dominated inside. Despite tying the Hawkeyes in rebounds, the Terps got it taken to them with some force in the paint. Most of the non-transition scores for Iowa came from the inside where the forwards simply had to reach over whoever was guarding them. Chalk it up to great coaching by Frese for the fact that it wasn’t more of a problem.
- The Terps switching to the half-court trap turned the game. The full-court press worked for about two minutes against the Hawkeyes in the first quarter. For whatever reason, Frese decided to lay back after this time period and Iowa had more freedom when it brought the ball up. Maryland went with a half-court trap at the start of the third to throttle any pushes by Iowa guard Mackenzie Meyer, which disrupted everything about Iowa’s gameplan, and really secured the win for Maryland.
- Eleanna Christinaki is exciting to watch, even when she isn’t producing. Despite not showing up much on the stat sheet, Christinaki always showed up as a spark plug for the Terps whenever she came in. Her vision allowed the team to move the ball with more fluidity than it did when she was off the court, and she had a couple behind-the-back passes that brought the ooh’s and ah’s from the crowd. Tonight was tough shooting-wise but the Terps don’t rely on her to score, they want her to run a second-unit that showed their worth on Thursday.