On Thursday night, Maryland women’s basketball did what the men’s team couldn’t do two days earlier: win a road game against Michigan. It wasn’t a brilliant performance by the Terps, but they escaped with a 74-67 victory.
Tierney Pfirman led the way with 16 points, while Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 15 and Brionna Jones tallied 13 on the heels of a late surge. The team had a very poor shooting night (40.9 percent from the field), but these three players kept the ship afloat.
Michigan’s attack, meanwhile, was led by Katelynn Flaherty once again. She scored 23 points despite shooting only 9-23 from the floor and 3-15 from downtown. Hallie Thome added 15 points and a career-high 5 blocks for the Wolverines.
The Terps actually opened the game on fire offensively, sinking their first four 3-pointers (Confroy and Walker-Kimbrough had two each). The team cooled off a little, but still led 25-19 after the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Brionna Jones fell into the purgatory known as “foul trouble.” As a result, Michigan’s Hallie Thome and Kelsey Mitchell (no, not that one) dominated the paint in the quarter. Maryland led by as many as 12 points, but the Wolverines stayed in the game and only trailed 42-35 at the intermission. Remarkably, the Terps were held without a field goal in the last 4:59 of the half.
Maryland’s cold shooting continued early in the third quarter, but Michigan stormed out of the gate. The Wolverines nailed their first 6 shots of the third quarter, eventually taking their first lead of the game when a pair of Madison Ristovski free throws moved her team ahead 47-46. It didn’t help that Jones was the one that fouled her; her third personal sent her back to the bench.
But in another strange twist, Michigan went cold, as well. After the Wolverines grabbed a 2-point lead with 5:25 remaining in the quarter, they were held scoreless for the remainder of the period. The Terps, who at that point trailed 52-50, would crawl back ahead and take a 55-52 lead into the fourth.
The final quarter opened with a Brene Moseley 3-pointer, which was Maryland’s first since the first quarter and snapped a streak of 8 straight misses. The Terps never looked back. Brionna Jones led a suddenly rejuvenated offense on a 12-0 run that all but put the game away. A late scoring flurry by the Wolverines made Brenda Frese’s team work a little harder than necessary, but Maryland was able to hold on and win its third straight game.
Three things to know
1. Brionna Jones is important. When she was on the bench, Michigan controlled the low post far more than they were ever expected to. She had a mere 2 points when she re-entered at the very end of the third quarter, but she closed the quarter with a putback layup and tallied 9 points in the fourth quarter. Not-so-coincidentally, that’s when the team pulled away.
2. The majority of the game was played at a breakneck pace. There was hardly a moment where the ball was slowly brought up the court, or when an offense was in real danger of a shot-clock violation. Even when the teams went cold, they didn’t wait long to hoist a shot up. This changed in the fourth quarter, when Maryland had a lead and wanted to let the clock run down.
3. Maryland shot the ball poorly. The Terps went 27-66 (40.9 percent) from the field, and everyone not named Brionna, Shatori or Tierney was 10-33 (30.3 percent). The 3-pointer looked like it was going to be a major weapon early on, but the team missed 10 of its last 11 shots from downtown. The team made up for its cold shooting with a whopping 21 offensive rebounds, but that's not something the Terps can count on in their next game on Sunday against Northwestern.