The Maryland women’s basketball team has been proclaimed the queen of the Big Ten after winning the Big Ten Championship for the past three years, and that crown seems to be in tact as they remain undefeated in Big Ten play with a win over Iowa 80 to 64.
Maryland (14-2) had one of the cleanest performances of the season—only turning over the ball once in the first half and ending the game with only seven turnovers, the second lowest mark of the season.
“You could tell the adjustment from Penn state, with all the turnovers and defense in that game. To take pride in that and respond was key for us,” Terps’ head coach Brenda Frese said.
Maryland scored 29 of their 80 points of the turnovers they forced.
On the other end, Iowa was turning the ball over a lot as a result of the high pressure defense Maryland was employing.
“I thought their half court press bothered us; they forced us into a lot of silly passes,” Hawkeyes’ head coach Lisa Bluder said.
They forced 23 turnovers on the day, which included eight in the third quarter alone—one of their largest turnover margins of the season.
Maryland came ready to play from the tip, taking a 14-point lead in the first quarter thanks to an 8-for-8 shooting to start and a 10-2 run to end the quarter. They shot 61 percent from the floor and 80 percent from behind the arc.
“You could tell we were ready from the tip. It shows how competitive this team is and they really responded to the challenge,” Frese said.
After the hot start, however, both teams slowed down shooting a combined 30 percent from the field in the second and third quarter, and ended the second quarter shooting as combined 2-20 to end the third quarter.
One of the biggest questions coming into the game was how Maryland was going to slow down one of the biggest Hawkeye forces, Megan Gustafson.
Although she did end up with a double-double on the day, with 15 points and 15 rebounds, Stephanie Jones’s defense theoretically took her out of the game by holding her to just one bucket in the first half.
“With the ball pressure on the guards and the bigs down low, it was a full team effort to stop her,” Jones said.
Jones ended with eight points and six boards.
But Maryland’s early lead held up as they pulled away in the fourth quarter taking down the Hawkeyes 80 to 64.
One of the driving forces of Maryland’s offense was the play of All- American Kaila Charles, who racked up 24 points and 11 rebounds, a team high in both categories.
“My teammates encouraging me helped me not dwell on the past,” Charles said.
Charles is coming off a game against Penn State, where she shot a career low 1-for-11 from the field.
“It was a new day,” Charles said.
A new day and new year for the Terps, in which they start undefeated and look to gain their 13th straight win against the Wisconsin Badgers this Sunday in Madison.
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