Maryland women's basketball won its second consecutive Big Ten tournament title Sunday night. The top-seeded Terps held off Michigan State, 60-44, in the championship game at Bankers' Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored a game-high 19 points, while Brionna Jones and Brene Moseley recorded 10 each. Jones also racked up 14 rebounds and a whopping 6 steals. Tori Jankoska led the Spartans with 12, but only 2 of those came in the second half.
This was Maryland's third game in three days, and it showed. The Terps struggled to make their jumpers all night long, and also turned the ball over 19 times. But Michigan State was even worse in both regards, missing 17 of 19 three-point attempts and turning it over 19 times.
The Terps started the game 4-of-18 from the field and 1-of-10 from long range. Michigan State led 14-12 after the first quarter. Maryland regained the lead midway through the second on a three from Chloe Pavlech, but was held scoreless for the next four and a half minutes. The Spartans went on a 7-0 run that looked like it would last into the locker room until a late triple from Walker-Kimbrough. She and Pavlech combined for 19 of the Terps' 24 points in the first half, while Tori Jankoska led the Spartans to a 26-24 lead at the break.
Aerial Powers and Brionna Jones, perhaps the two best frontcourt players in the conference, didn't make a field goal in the first 20 minutes. Powers picked up her second foul early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the half. Jones didn't even have an official attempt; she was fouled both times she went up.
The junior ended the drought on an and-1 just two minutes into the third quarter, drawing the third foul of the night on Spartan center Jasmine Hines. After she exited, the Terps seemed to establish more of a presence inside. An 11-0 Maryland burst in the middle of the quarter opened up the team's largest lead of the game at 38-30. Powers, who dropped 31 when the teams first met, made her first two buckets towards the end of the period, but her team trailed 42-36 entering the fourth.
Brene Moseley and Tierney Pfirman scored the first 9 Terrapin points of the final quarter, stretching the Maryland lead to a game-high 13 points with 6:01 remaining. The Spartans needed to go on a big run, but scored only 4 points the rest of the way. Maryland outscored the Spartans 18-8 in the fourth, and a Kristen Confroy triple in the final minute served as the icing on the cake. She had missed her first 8 shots, all threes.
Walker-Kimbrough was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, and Brionna Jones joins her on the All-Tournament team. The win is the Terps' 30th of the year, and their next chance to record another will be in the Women's NCAA Tournament. Maryland will host its first two games, and their draw will be revealed on Monday, March 14.
Three things to know
1. It was a really poor shooting night all around. Maryland is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, but shot just 34.9 percent from the field and went 6-of-21 from deep. Michigan State, meanwhile, was a porous 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) on threes.
2. The Terps dominated the offensive glass again. They missed 41 shots and corralled the rebound on 19 of them. It helped that Powers and Hines spent a solid chunk of the game in foul trouble. Three Terps engulfed at least 10 rebounds: Jones 14, Pfirman 12 and Walker-Kimbrough 10.
3. Maryland is the Big Ten tournament champion once again. The Terps have never lost in this tournament, and boast a 6-0 record overall. Playing on three straight days is never easy, but Brenda Frese's team gutted it out. They give trophies out for accomplishments like that.