On Sunday afternoon, the No. 8 Maryland women's basketball team played its first home game in 10 days. Paying a visit to College Park were the Northwestern Wildcats, an experienced team that had just knocked off No. 5 Ohio State. With the Terps coming off a relatively lackluster performance at Michigan, many expected that this contest would be a close and exciting one.
But it wasn't. Maryland led for the entirety of the game, maintaining a double-digit advantage all through the second half en route to an 80-62 victory. Kristen Confroy had the best performance of her college career, pouring in 8 of 10 shots from 3-point range and scoring a career-high 24 points. She also added 10 rebounds for her first career double-double.
Brene Moseley was the Terps' star early, coming off the bench to score 13 points in the first half and 17 in the game while dishing out 7 assists. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones added 14 points apiece, with Jones snaring 14 rebounds (8 on the offensive glass).
It wasn't a strong offensive performance for Northwestern, as the team was an abysmal 2 of 18 from beyond the arc. Nia Coffey led the Wildcats with 19 points and 9 boards, while Maggie Lyon and Christen Inman tallied 13 each.
The Terps dominated the first quarter, sprinting out to a 7-0 lead and shutting down Northwestern on the defensive end. The Wildcats were held to 5-of-21 shooting (23.8 percent) from the floor in the first 10 minutes. Maryland held a 26-13 lead after the first and stretched the margin as far as 19 points in the second. Northwestern went on a 17-6 run to cut its defecit to 8 points, but the Terps scored the last 6 points of the half and led 44-30 at the break.
The two teams looked evenly matched throughout the third quarter; neither squad went on any sort of extended run. Confroy was the star of the period, taking and swishing three shots from downtown. The Maryland lead remained in double figures throughout, but was slashed to 65-53 when Ashley Deary banked in a half-court heave at the buzzer.
The Wildcats needed to make something happen in the final quarter, but they simply couldn't get on a roll. Maryland never truly pulled away, but by the last few minutes, the game was simply out of reach.
The win brings Maryland's record to 16-2 overall and 5-1 in conference play, and with Ohio State's loss earlier this week, it's quite possible the Terps will be a couple spots higher in the polls when they visit Wisconsin on Wednesday night.
Three things to know
1. Kristen Confroy has been unleashed. As previously mentioned, the sophomore had a brilliant game, recording career highs in points (24), rebounds (10) and three-pointers made (8). She made her first 7 shots from downtown, more than enough to send the Xfinity Center crowd into a frenzy.
2. Maryland dominated the glass. The Terps outrebounded Northwestern, 52-31, and grabbed 17 offensive boards. Jones and Confroy led the way with 14 and 10, respectively. Northwestern has had trouble finding a partner for Coffey in the paint, and it showed.
3. The turnover bug still hasn't been squashed. 20 giveaways is never a stat to be proud of, even after considering Northwestern is among the best teams in the country at forcing them. The Wildcats had 10 steals, with national leader Ashley Deary recording 4. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 8 turnovers in an otherwise solid offensive performance. Ultimately, the Terps' strong start and Confroy's shooting kept the turnovers from swinging the game, but there's still something to work on going forward.