clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No. 1-seed Maryland women’s basketball comes out fast, outlasts No. 9-seed Purdue 74-62 in Big Ten quarterfinals

The Terps started fast and eventually outpaced the Boilermakers in their quarterfinal matchup.


INDIANAPOLIS — Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Blair Watson pulled down a defensive rebound and began moving down the court.

She dropped the ball off to Ashley Owusu, who found Watson right back on the left wing. But instead of taking the shot, the senior launched a cross-court pass to Taylor Mikesell, whose shot bounced up, around and eventually in — forcing a Purdue timeout and erupting the Terps bench.

No. 1-seed Maryland women’s basketball used up-tempo play all afternoon long to outlast No. 8-seed Purdue 74-62 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.

With the victory, the Terps will play either Rutgers or Indiana in the tournament semifinals Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

“I thought you saw a team in Purdue that was extremely hungry, extremely talented,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “They gave us everything that they had for 40 minutes and really made us work, but I thought once we were able to kind of settle in with our first game ... we were able to find a way to make plays.”

From the tip, the Terps elected to use their speed, as Kaila Charles hit an opening two-pointer from the free-throw line. The Terps quickly stole the ball back at half court after Charles’ first points of the game and put another layup in.

Just minutes later, sophomore guard Taylor Mikesell attempted a three-pointer in transition that was short, but Stephanie Jones was able to get the rebound back out to the sophomore, who telegraphed a pass inside to Shakira Austin for another layup before Purdue got set.

The speed ended up costing Maryland in the latter half of the first quarter though, as the team racked up six turnovers, while Purdue managed to finish the quarter shooting 50 percent from the field and made four three-pointers through the first 10 minutes.

The Boilermakers started off the second quarter where they left things off, getting three points from the free-throw line and a layup to take a 24-22 lead — their first of the game — at the 8:44 mark.

Austin grabbed a defensive rebound off a short Purdue jumper and sent the ball ahead to Ashley Owusu, who used a hesitation move to shake her defender in transition and give the Terps the lead back with 5:55 remaining in the first half.

That play sparked a 13-3 Maryland run across 3:56, including two Mikesell makes from deep that forced Purdue into a timeout.

The Terps closed the half with the same pace it started with, forcing five Purdue turnovers in the final 2:57 for a mark of 14 in the first half. They also did well on the glass to create chances with 21 offensive rebounds in the first half — 17 of which came in the second quarter.

“[In the] first half we were rushing a lot of shots and not finding what we usually find,” Austin said.

“Coming out of the locker room, our message was definitely to be more aggressive and not settle so fast,” Jones said.

Both teams went back and forth in the third quarter, with the Terps seeming to answer and overcome the Boilermakers.

Each team had scored 15 points in the quarter until Mikesell took a pass in the final seconds and drained a step-back three-pointer in the face of her defender to give the Terps a 55-44 advantage through 30 minutes.

The fourth quarter started off with much of the same, as Watson was able to pull down a rebound in transition and the ball found its way to Mikesell for a three-pointer — leading to a Purdue timeout 50 seconds into the quarter.

Maryland ultimately scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, forcing Purdue’s hand as time was running low.

The Boilermakers tried and shrink the Terps’ lead, but was only able to cut it as close as 12 points down the stretch.

Three things to know

1. Taylor Mikesell was letting it fly. The sophomore guard was the catalyst for the Terps in this one, showing a commitment to pulling the trigger whenever the Boilermakers gave her space.

After dropping 22 in Maryland’s final game of the regular season, she paced the team in scoring once again with 22 points, doing so on 8-of-18 from the field and 6-of-14 from beyond the arc. Entering this crucial stretch of the season, Mikesell appears to be finding her groove at just the right time.

“I feel good, but just trying to survive and advance at this point,” Mikesell said. “Really we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s game right now and just trying to stay hot from behind the arc and as a team.”

2. Fatou Diagne gave the Terps problems. The 6’4 forward averages just over 11 minutes per game, but the way she matches up with Shakira Austin made her indispensable in Friday’s contest. She recorded career-highs in minutes (29) and points (12) the last time these teams played, and finished with 11 points in 28 minutes in this one. She also managed to frustrate Austin for the most part, keeping her to 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

3. Maryland dominated the boards. The combination of Austin and Jones blitzed the boards early and often in this one, contributing to a significant rebounding disparity in favor of the Terps.

The dynamic front-court duo pulled down 24 of Maryland’s 54 rebounds on the day, with 13 of those boards being on the offensive end to give the Terps 28 offensive boards on the afternoon.

“I sort of joked at halftime, it reminded me of our Iowa game there when we were getting all kinds of offensive rebounds, not putting them back,” Frese said. “I thought we got those [offensive] boards and rushed shots. I thought there was times where we could get those [offensive] boards and be able to kick them out because Purdue’s length is extremely difficult to be able to shoot over.”