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Maryland women’s basketball beats Indiana, 67-54, in Big Ten quarterfinals

The Terps are moving on to the semifinals after pulling away late.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Indiana vs Maryland Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Despite an impressive fight by Indiana, Maryland women’s basketball took over and hit free throws down the stretch to knock off the Hoosiers, 67-54, in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday night.

Indiana cut the lead to three on the rare five-point play with 4:34 to go, but the Terps closed the game on a 13-3 run.

Kaila Charles had another strong night, scoring 14 in the first half on the way to a stat-stuffing 24 points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Channise Lewis and Stephanie Jones scored 10 points, and Brianna Fraser was a spark off the bench, chipping in 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

Maryland recovered from a slow start to shoot 45 percent from the field and controlled the glass all night, outrebounding Indiana 39-26, and at least four players had seven rebounds.

Maryland had a strong defensive effort in the first quarter, but couldn’t convert that into points. Indiana committed seven turnovers, and Maryland only scored six points off those giveaways. Whenever the Hoosiers didn’t turn it over, they executed well on offense, going 5-for-8 in the opening frame, compared to 6-of-19 for the Terps.

It was an up and down first quarter with one team struggling to take care of the ball and another trying to score, and Charles scored the last four points to give Maryland a 13-12 lead.

After there were five lead changes in the first quarter, there were only two in the second. Maryland led for most of it, but never by more than four points, taking a 29-27 lead into the half.

Indiana continued to stave off fatigue in the third. The quarter had seven lead changes, and Tyra Buss started to pick up the slack after Amanda Cahill scored 11 points in the first half. She scored six points in a row, all coming on layups that gave the Hoosiers the lead after Maryland scored at the other end. Buss’ final basket was the last Indiana would score in the quarter, and the Terps closed it out on a 9-0 run. Channise Lewis hit Maryland’s only two threes of the game during the run, and the Terps led 48-40 heading into the final frame.

Indiana looked to be finally feeling the effects of playing four overtimes the night before, but found new life after Charles picked up her fourth foul. The Hoosiers cut it to four less than a minute after she checked out. Maryland built the lead back up to eight, but then the Hoosiers cut it to three on an unheard-of five-point play. Cahill was fouled off the ball when Buss drained a three, and Cahill drained two free throws to cut the lead to three.

The Terps held Indiana scoreless for three and a half minutes after that, and hit enough free throws down the stretch to advance to the semifinals. They’ll play the winner of No. 3-seed Nebraska and No. 6-seed Michigan.

Three things to know

  1. Just like the men’s game, neither team had much breathing room. Until Maryland went on a 9-0 run, no team had led by more than four points. It made for a tense game until the final minutes.
  2. Indiana had a gutsy effort. Despite playing 60 minutes last night, the Hoosiers fought tooth and nail with Maryland for the whole game. It ultimately wasn’t enough, but they made it harder than expected.
  3. Maryland won despite poor three-point shooting. The Terps shot 2-for-9 from beyond the arc, and usually struggle when that takes place. However, the two threes were big, as Lewis hit both to give Maryland breathing room for the first time all game.