Maryland women’s basketball hasn’t been able to dominate the Big Ten so far this season, but the Terrapins racked up another conference victory on Saturday night in their 83-69 win over Michigan.
Taylor Mikesell had a terrific day for the No. 9 Terrapins, leading the team with 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. Shakira Austin had her first double-digit scoring performance since the game against Delaware, finishing third on the team with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting while adding 15 rebounds and seven blocks.
Three other Terrapins finished in double-figures, as Blair Watson, Stephanie Jones and Kaila Charles combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds. Sara Vujacic, who had played just seven minutes over the team’s last five games, found some playing time and made the most of it. In 11 first-half minutes, she scored eight points on 2-of-3 shooting from long range while hitting both of her free-throw opportunities.
Despite the victory, the Terrapins faltered in two important categories that generally signal a potential loss. They turned the ball over 15 times on the day to Michigan’s nine, which led to 12 points for the Wolverines. Michigan also outrebounded Maryland by a 43-41 margin.
Maryland got off to another fast start against the Wolverines, jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead in the first three minutes of action. Shakira Austin and Jones had two layups each to get an early advantage on the scoreboard. But Michigan went on a 9-0 run to take the lead in a span of two minutes, and the visiting Wolverines finished the opening period on an 8-0 run to take a 21-14 lead.
The second quarter was much kinder to the Terrapins, who found their stroke from beyond the arc. Charles hit her first three-pointer of the season at the 7:29 mark to cut Maryland’s deficit to two points, and after a pair of quick buckets by the Wolverines, Channise Lewis and Taylor Mikesell sunk consecutive bombs to tie the score at 25. From that point on, the teams traded every basket, and the half ended with the Terps leading 35-34.
After being stymied to the tune of just 13 points in the second period, the Wolverines found their footing after the halftime break. Down 41-39 with 7:13 to play, Hallie Thome carried her team on an extended 11-5 run with seven points of her own to give Michigan a six-point lead. But thanks to Austin and Mikesell, the Terrapins scored the final seven points of the quarter to take a 53-52 lead into the final quarter.
Once the final period began, it was all Maryland. The teams traded baskets for the first two minutes, and with a 60-58 lead, the Terrapins went on a run. Blair Watson and Mikesell hit consecutive three-pointers, and Charles’ layup put them up 10 in a two-minute span. Michigan failed to cut the lead below eight points due to the home team’s shooting, and as the final seconds wound down, Maryland had as high as a 14-point advantage.
Maryland will be back in action on Thursday against No. 23 Michigan State. Tipoff is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET and the game can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
Three things to know
1. Another solid shooting night. For the second game in a row, Maryland was efficient from the floor and used a good offensive showing to secure a victory. As a team, the Terrapins shot a combined 52.5 percent from the floor compared to Michigan’s 38.5 percent. They also had success from beyond the arc, hitting nine of their 20 looks from long range.
2. The freshmen showed out. Mikesell has been the third player in the offensive pecking order so far this season, but against the Wolverines, she had a day to remember. The freshman scored 17 points, and she was also efficient, hitting 7 of 13 shots from the floor and three of her eight looks from three-point territory.
3. Hallie Thome was dominant. Maryland held nearly every other player in check, but Hallie Thome proved to be a tough matchup inside. The senior center was unstoppable on Saturday, as she scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Using her 6’5 frame inside, Thome hit 11 of her 16 shots from the floor and added 10 rebounds.