clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland women’s basketball holds off Georgia Tech for 67-54 win

The No. 7 Terps withstood a second-half charge to move to 7-0.

Maryland women’s basketball Taylor Mikesell vs. Georgia Tech Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Despite nearly blowing a 20-point lead in the second half Thursday, the Maryland women’s basketball team persevered to a 67-54 victory over Georgia Tech in the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

When Maryland’s lead was nearly evaporated, Kaila Charles stepped up to put the game out of reach. With her team up just one with nine minutes to play, the junior scored 11 straight points to extend Maryland’s advantage to 12, and the Terps stayed comfortably ahead down the stretch.

Taylor Mikesell’s score-first mentality has returned huge dividends for Maryland, as the freshman eclipsed her career-high in points against the Yellow Jackets with 20. Stephanie Jones joined Mikesell and Charles in double figures, adding 11 points of her own on 5-of-10 shooting.

In a game where the Terps failed to consistently hit shots from the floor, it was their free-throw shooting that made the difference. Maryland hit 15 of its 16 chances from the charity stripe, while Georgia Tech went just 4-of-6 on free throws.

Maryland’s sloppy play early kept the game close for the three-plus minutes, as the No. 7 team in the country held just a 4-2 lead until the 6:39 mark. But the Terps, aided by the Yellow Jackets’ inability to score, went on a run to extend the lead to an seemingly-insurmountable level for the opposition. As Georgia Tech went five-plus minutes without a single point, Mikesell and Charles combined to give Maryland an 18-6 lead through one quarter.

Georgia Tech found some luck shooting the ball after its drought, but the Terps continued to score often and efficiently in the second quarter. Mikesell and Jones combined for 14 of the team’s 20 points in the period, single-handedly outscoring the Yellow Jackets. With the visitors unable to register a point in the final three-plus minutes of the half, the teams went to the locker room with Maryland up 38-18.

In Saturday’s win over Georgia, a poor showing in the second half nearly led to Maryland’s first defeat of the season. That trend continued on Thursday, as the Terps were outscored by a 26-9 margin to start the second half. They failed to score a single point in a five-plus-minute span to end the third quarter and begin the fourth, and during that stretch, Georgia Tech cut a 20-point deficit to just one point with nine minutes to play in the game.

But Maryland turned to its leader, a player who can single-handily take over a ballgame at a moment’s notice. Over a three-minute span in the final period, Charles scored 11 straight points, including sinking all five of her shots from the foul line.

The Yellow Jackets hit a couple shots from behind the arc, but it wasn’t enough to put the game within striking distance. After some clutch free-throw shooting late, Maryland held on for a 13-point margin of victory.

The Terrapins will next face off against in-state foes UMBC on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on BTN Plus as Maryland looks to extend its undefeated record to 8-0.

Three things to know

1. Another brutal start to the second half. Through the third quarter into the fourth, the Terrapins were outclassed on both ends of the court. In failing to score for a five-minute stretch, Brenda Frese’s team allowed the Yellow Jackets to nearly overcome a 20-point halftime deficit. A strong finish negated the poor play, but this is becoming a troublesome trend for Maryland.

2. The guards were impressive. Kaila Charles and Taylor Mikesell were fantastic all game, combining to score 43 of the team’s 67 points. Their scoring was also efficient, as the duo shot 14-of-31 (.452) from the floor while hitting all 11 of their free throws.

3. ACC/Big Ten Challenge dominance continues. With this victory over Georgia Tech, the Terps now boast an elite 11-1 record in the annual early-season tournament. Other teams have been successful (Notre Dame is 6-0 and handed Maryland its only loss), but the Terps are the lone squad to consistently win on both sides of the challenge.