Maryland women’s basketball starts its quest for a fourth straight Big Ten tournament title against Indiana on Friday night.
The Hoosiers needed four overtimes Thursday to knock off Michigan State, topping the Spartans 111-109 in an instant classic. It looked like Michigan State’s Shay Colley won it with a layup at the end of regulation, but the clock froze seconds before and the basket did not count. The Spartans’ Victoria Gaines hit a jumper to force double overtime with seven seconds left in the first overtime period, and then Indiana’s Amanda Cahill hit a tough layup for two of her career high 38 to force triple overtime. The senior hit two free throws with three seconds left in the fourth and final extra period to seal the victory.
Maryland and Indiana have never played in the Big Ten tournament, and the Terps have won all five meeting between the two schools.
The Terps defeated Nebraska, 77-75, on Senior Day their last time out, snapping a three-game losing streak. Maryland led almost the whole way in that one, but needed two go-ahead free throws from Stephanie Jones and a block from the sophomore in the final minute to preserve the win.
Maryland has not lost in the Big Ten tournament, and knocked off Minnesota, Michigan State and Purdue last year to wins its third straight Big 10 tournament title.
Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET, and you can catch the game on MASN or stream it on BTN2Go with your cable provider information.
What happened last time
Maryland was playing its second game without Blair Watson, and defeated Indiana in a back-and-forth contest, 74-70. Eleanna Christinaki gave the Terps a 71-70 lead with 1:52 to go and Charles banked in a jumper with less than a minute left to give Maryland the final push it needed for the win.
The Terps shot 49 percent from the field and hit 6 of 11 three pointers, but struggled to stop the Hoosiers, who hit 12 of their 25 three-point attempts. Freshmen Jaelyn Penn and Cahill both scored a game-high 18 points.
What’s happened since
That was the first of seven straight wins for Maryland, who looked to be cruising to another regular season conference title before fading down the stretch and settling for second. Indiana one-upped the Terps and reeled off eight straight wins before falling to Iowa in the final game of the regular season, though only two of those wins came against teams in the top half of the conference.
Three things to watch
- What does Indiana have left? In playing four overtimes, the Hoosiers played an extra half of basketball Thursday night. Cahill and Tyra Buss were on the floor for every minute, Penn played all but one, and head coach Teri Moren only used seven players the whole game.
- Who steps up and scores alongside Kaila Charles? One of Maryland’s problems down the stretch was that it couldn’t get enough consistent offense from anyone besides its leading scorer. Christinaki has often forced the issue when the rest of her teammates get passive, which usually leads to bad results.
- Can Maryland put together a 40-minute game? The Terps avoided disaster against Nebraska, but put themselves in that position after not putting the Huskers away earlier in the game. Both teams are in survive and advance mode, so Maryland will have to be locked in from the opening tip to the final whistle.