When Stephanie Jones converted an and-one to give Maryland women’s basketball a 10-point lead halfway through the third quarter, it looked like the Terps were well on their way to their eighth straight win Thursday in College Park.
But Purdue fought its way back into the game to upset the Big Ten’s first-place team, 75-65.
The game was close into the late stages of the fourth quarter, but the Boilermakers made more plays to pull out the win. Dominique Oden hit a go-ahead three with 2:47 to go, and responded with another after a three-point play by Kaila Charles. Maryland missed its next two shots, and the Boilermakers made their free throws to seal the upset.
The Terps’ defense was inconsistent most of the night, with the Boilermakers shooting 51 percent and five players in double figures. Andreona Keys led all scorers with 17 points, and also chipped in nine rebounds and five assists. Purdue also got a solid games from Karissa McLaughlin, who had 15 points and five assists; and Dominique Oden who had 12 points, including 10 critical points in the second half.
Maryland shot just 39 percent, a number that went way down after trying to play catchup in the final minute. Kaila Charles led the Terps with 14 points and eight rebounds, but shot 6-of-16 from the field and never got going. Eleanna Christinaki also struggled, scoring 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting.
Maryland couldn’t have asked for a better first two possessions to start the game, as Jones picked off a pass and went coast-to-coast for layup, then forced a shot clock violation at the other end. That was the most comfortable the Terps would look for the next 13 minutes, though. Purdue threw Maryland off by switching defensive looks and continuing to stay aggressive on offense. The Terps stayed in the game by forcing four turnovers and making the Boilermakers work for shots, which helped offset Purdue’s 61 percent shooting in the first quarter.
Maryland trailed 17-15 after the opening frame and continued to look rattled to start the second quarter. McLaughlin buried a transition three to give Purdue a 23-18 lead, and Brenda Frese had seen enough and called timeout. The Terps looked different out of that timeout, starting with a spark from Kristen Confroy. The senior scored eight straight points, starting with a layup where it looked like she lost control under the basket before recovering and finishing the play. Then, she buried threes on back-to-back possessions to give Maryland a 26-25 lead.
Purdue wouldn’t go away, but the Terps stayed strong on the defensive end and held the Boilermakers without a field goal with the last three and a half minutes of the quarter and led 34-29 at halftime.
Maryland carried that same intensity to start the second half, and a Stephanie Jones three-point play pushed the lead to 10. However, Purdue would not go away and worked its way back into the game.
Sarah Myers looked overwhelmed for the few minutes she ran the offense in the third quarter, and Maryland made a few sloppy passes. The result was a 14-2 run that gave the Boilermakers a 49-47 lead. Christinaki responded on the next possession, slashing through the lane for a tough finish and hitting the free throw to retake the lead at the end of the period.
The game went back and forth throughout the fourth quarter, with neither team able to lead by more than five points. However, McLaughlin’s three with eight minutes to go gave Purdue a 56-55 lead, and Maryland wouldn’t lead again.
The Terps are now 22-4 overall and 11-2 in the Big Ten, and are back in action Sunday at Minnesota.
Three things to know
- Maryland finally faltered down the stretch. In many of their close games this season, the Terps have usually executed better and pulled out a win. Tonight, Purdue was better late, and the Boilermakers will be leaving the Xfinity Center with an upset because of it.
- Maryland’s defense took a small step back. The Terps continued to guard and forced a lot of long possessions, but Purdue continued to fight as well and hit a number of shots deep in the shot clock. The intensity was still there; Maryland just ran into a team that had a good night offensively.
- Purdue had a solid gameplan and stuck with it. To beat Maryland, you have to force them into uncharacteristic shots and and remain physical. The Boilermakers did that Thursday, and it paid off big time for a team that needed a win to stay on the right side on the bubble.