From tipoff, No. 10 Maryland and Wisconsin attacked the basket. It seemed to be an evenly-matched game, even though the Terrapins got the first points of the game with a Stephanie Jones layup.
Things started to change in the third quarter, as the Maryland offense came to life, courtesy of Kaila Charles.
The junior guard led the Terrapins with 22 points and six rebounds in a 75-57 win over the Badgers.
“We knew that once we locked in and played together and were more aggressive on defense, it would lead to more offense,” Charles said.
Charles’ 10-point third quarter assisted Maryland (19-2, 8-2) in their surge as they dominated Wisconsin (11-11, 2-8) in the paint and from behind the arc, at one point holding a 24-point lead.
“I think we saw in the first half, if you don’t come ready to play, anyone can beat anyone,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “But to be able to see our response and the dominance… we want to continue to have that consistency among our program every time we step out on the floor.”
Freshman forward Shakira Austin showed her physicality in the paint early in the first quarter, driving in for a layup and drawing a foul in the process. The trend would continue on both sides of the ball, as she tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Senior forward Brianna Fraser recorded seven points and six rebounds off the bench, which brought her to 500 career rebounds.
Both Fraser and Austin were an integral part of the Terps’ stifling defense in the second half that kept the Badgers shooting below 37 percent from the floor.
Though the Terps helda slight lead for most of the first half, the Badgers out-rebounded them in the first quarter. Wisconsin had four offensive rebounds in the first quarter, but it was not enough to overcome Maryland’s balanced offense and depth.
Eight Terps scored the end of the first half, a feat that Frese said contributed to the Terps’ second-half surge.
“When both our guards and our bigs are spreading the floor, we have so many weapons,” Frese said. “We have to continue to wear teams out and that’s where you see that separation in the second half.”
Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell added two 3-pointers to her conference-leading stat; the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week now leads the conference with 63 3-pointers.
The Terps will go on the road to take on Illinois on Monday night with tipoff at 7:30 p.m., as they begin the second half of the Big Ten schedule.
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