Maryland struggled from the outset against the strong Spartan defense all night, shooting 41 percent from the field in the 77-60 loss. Propelled by strong rebounding and tough defense, the Spartans (14-4 4-3 Big Ten) pulled off the upset at home over the Terps (15-2 4-2 Big Ten).
The Spartans came out of the gates hot, jumping out to an 20-4 advantage over the Terps. Senior center Jenna Allen scored 10 of her team high 16 points during the run,scoring both on the perimeter and in the paint. Entering the game, the Spartans were the best three point shooting team in the conference in both percentage and average makes per game. In the first quarter, the Spartans shot 71.4 percent beyond the arc, helping to establish a ten point lead. For Maryland, senior center Brianna Fraser accounted for most of the offense, scoring nine of the team’s 15 first quarter points.
The second quarter was the Terps best of the game, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and trimming the Spartan lead to three at halftime. Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell helped shorten the lead, scoring seven of her 12 points during the frame. While only missing two shots from three in the first quarter, Michigan State struggled in the second shooting 25 percent from downtown.
However, a strong second quarter was not enough. Other than Fraser in the second half, the Terps really struggled offensively. Freshman forward Shakira Austin was held scoreless and junior leader guard Kaila Charles only finished with three points. Both players combined to shoot 1-9 from the field, struggling against the tough Spartans defense. As the Terps tried to close the gap, foul trouble and rebounding made it difficult.
Junior forward Stephanie Jones picked up her fourth foul of the game with 7:26 remaining in the game, forcing head coach Brenda Frese to make a substitution. Jones entered the game with the second highest field goal percentage in the conference, but was unable to stay on the court due to foul trouble. Charles also picked up her fourth foul with 5:58 remaining, taking two of the Terps best offensive weapons off of the court in crunch time down the stretch.
In addition to foul trouble, the Spartans dominated Maryland on the glass in the second half, 25-9. Michigan State had as many offensive rebounds in the second half as Maryland had total, helping to extend their lead. The Terps entered the game with the sixth largest rebounding margin in the country (+12), but finished -7 against the Spartans. The duo of junior forward Nia Hollie and redshirt junior guard Shay Colley combined for seven offensive rebounds, helping extend possessions for the Spartans.
Maryland will host Penn State at the Xfinity Center on Sunday, with tip-off scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
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