Entering Sunday, Maryland women’s basketball’s last four games had been grueling. But on the road against Indiana, the No. 11 Terrapins dominated early en route to a blowout win over the Hoosiers, 76-56.
Following a game where she was limited to eight points after getting into foul trouble, Kaila Charles bounced back in a big way to lead the Terps. Thanks to a 14-point first quarter, the junior led all scorers with 25 points on 12-of-19 shooting. Charles also picked up her third double-double of the season, securing a game-high 11 rebounds.
Stephanie Jones had yet another strong performance for Maryland, complementing the team’s leading scorer with 20 points of her own while hitting seven of her 12 field goals. Despite a rough shooting day, Taylor Mikesell had yet another game scoring in double-figures—her 19th time in 20 games—with 11 points.
The Terps’ defense came to play on Sunday, completely handcuffing the Hoosiers’ strong attack. Indiana entered play third in the Big Ten with a .441 field goal percentage, but on Sunday, the team hit shots at a paltry 37.5 percent clip. And there was no help from beyond the arc, as the Hoosiers sunk just four of their 16 three-pointers.
Despite the huge advantage on the scoreboard at the end of the game, Maryland (18-2, 7-2 Big Ten) had a rough start. Charles hit a layup 20 seconds in to put the Terrapins on the board, but the Hoosiers quickly went on an 11-2 run to take a seven-point lead just three minutes into the game. But Charles turned on the switch and completely took over the game. The junior scored 12 straight points for Maryland, her last fast-break layup cutting the score to 20-16 with just over a minute to play. And after Taylor Mikesell and Sara Vujacic made back-to-back baskets, the score was tied at the end of the period.
That momentum carried into the second quarter, and Maryland went on a devastating run to effectively put the game away. The Terrapins held a 26-25 lead with 7:01 to go in the half, and then Indiana suddenly forgot how to score. The Hoosiers closed the period not scoring a single point in the final seven minutes, missing 11 straight field goals. Maryland took advantage of the Hoosiers’ offensive struggles, ending the half on a 14-0 run, led by Jones’ nine points in the final four-plus minutes. By the time the teams went into the locker rooms, the Terps had a 40-25 lead.
Maryland had scored 20 points in each of the first two quarters, but coming out of halftime, the offense stalled. After making 50 percent of their field goals in the first half, the Terrapins hit just 2 of 16 shots from the floor and 7 of 12 free throws. Thankfully for Maryland, the defense didn’t fall off. The Hoosiers hit their field goals at just a 28.6 percent clip, and they failed to make any of their five three-pointers.
Entering the fourth quarter with a 17-point lead, the Terps did what they have done all season long—control the game in the final 10 minutes. Instead of allowing Indiana to make things close, Maryland hit its first seven field goals of the quarter to get out to a 23-point lead with just over five minutes to play. Indiana pushed late, but it couldn’t get enough going to cut the deficit by any significant amount.
Maryland will be back in action on Thursday at the Xfinity Center against Wisconsin. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
Three things to know
1. Kaila Charles was terrific. It’s been an up-and-down month for the team’s leading scorer, as Charles has alternated single-digit scoring outputs with game-high performances. After scoring just eight points on Thursday, the junior led all scorers on Sunday with 25 points on an efficient 12-of-19 shooting from the floor. And her presence was felt on the glass as well, finishing with 11 rebounds to lead all players.
2. The Terps took care of the ball. All season long, Maryland has struggled with avoiding careless giveaways. On Thursday against Ohio State, the Terrapins committed 23 turnovers and nearly gave the game away despite a hot shooting night. However, they turned it over just 12 times Sunday, compared to their season-long average of 15.7.
3. The defense was crucial. Maryland’s scoring prowess has been the main story this season, but on the road against Indiana, it was the defense that stepped up and carried the team to victory. The Terrapins have averaged 7.4 steals per game so far this season, and on Sunday, they stole the ball 13 times and forced 20 turnovers overall.