Maryland women's basketball fell once again to Ohio State on Monday night, as the No. 5 Terps fell behind early and could never catch up, ultimately falling by a final score of 94-86.
Ohio State now accounts for two of the team's three losses this year. The Buckeyes marched into College Park and knocked off the Terps, 80-71, on Jan. 2. Maryland and its fans had been anxious to avenge that loss ever since, but turnovers kept those dreams from being realized tonight.
Kelsey Mitchell torched the Maryland defense for 33 points, while Ameryst Alston added 22 for the No. 7 Buckeyes. Each player knocked down 4 three-pointers, and the team as a whole was 12-of-23 from downtown (but they started 12-of-18).
Brionna Jones led the Terps with a career-high 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting from the floor. She had a double-double with a game-high 11 rebounds. Tierney Pfirman drained 4 threes and chipped in 16 points off the bench, while Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 14 and Kristen Confroy had 13. The Terps dominated on the glass, 47-31, but any advantage in that department was negated by the team's 23 turnovers, which kept momentum on the side of the Buckeyes.
Ohio State sprinted out to a 7-0 lead early in the opening period, prompting Brenda Frese to call a timeout just over two minutes in. The Terps would warm up offensively, but were plagued by a whopping 9 first-quarter turnovers. It didn't help that Ameryst Alston, who was just 4-of-17 for 12 points in the last meeting, nailed three-pointers on back-to-back-to-back possessions. The Buckeyes led by as many as 10 points, but Maryland brought it to 24-19 at the quarter's end.
The second quarter was played at an absolutely breakneck pace, filled to the brim with fast breaks and three-pointers (and sometimes both). The Terps inched within two points on multiple occasions in the frame, but Ohio State went on a 7-0 run towards the end of the half to take a 47-40 lead into the locker room. Kelsey Mitchell racked up 12 points in the quarter for the Buckeyes, who finished the first half 8-of-12 from downtown as a team.
Maryland once again appeared primed to catch the Buckeyes early in the third quarter, as Walker-Kimbrough scored 5 unanswered points to slash the defecit to just three with 6:12 left in the period. But then Ohio State caught fire. The Buckeyes immediately went on a 10-0 run and stretched the lead all the way to 18.
Maryland trailed 75-61 entering the final period, needing to find another gear in order to push back into the game. That didn't happen. The closest the Terps got was 9 points, which was never close enough to put a scare into the Columbus crowd. Jones had her way inside, but it wasn't enough. Maryland struggled to keep the ball, much less drain jumpers. The Terps' 9-game win streak is no more.
3 things to know
1. Turnovers still suck. Maryland gave the ball away 23 times, leading to 27 Ohio State points. The Terps turned it over in seemingly every way conceivable: bad passes, travels, offensive fouls, you name it. The Buckeyes only had 11 turnovers. In the team's first meeting, the story was the same: Maryland had 20 giveaways to Ohio State's 13. This game, somehow, was even worse.
2. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough couldn't get it going. After dropping 41 and 30 in her last two games (and somehow missing out on B1G Player of the Week, thanks to Rachel Banham), the junior had her worst shooting night of the season, converting on only 6 of 18 shots and 1 of 6 threes. Before tonight, her 6-of-17 outing against the Buckeyes last time around was as inefficient as she had been. She did chip in 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals tonight, but gave the ball away 5 times.
3. The Big Ten is now Ohio State's to lose. The Buckeyes sit alone at the top of the conference standings, with an 11-1 record to the Terps' 10-2. Ohio State will need to lose twice in order for Maryland even have a chance at the top seed in the conference tournament. The Terps can beat this team, but that has twice been proven far easier said than done.