The Big Ten tournament is upon us folks. The #4-ranked Maryland Terrapins women’s basketball team is going to play the Michigan State Spartans today at 11:30 am (Central Time). The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network. The Lady Terps got to this point by dominating the Big Ten conference and having an undefeated record at 18-0. That earned them a double bye and automatic spot in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinal game.
The Spartan’s beat the Michigan Wolverines 69-49 behind Aerial Powers 16 points and 15 rebounds. Four of the Spartans’ starting five were in double figures. They had 17 assists in that game, but 20 turnovers.
The Lady Terps could very well take advantage of the fact the Spartans can turn the ball over easily by pressing them up and down the floor. They also would have to be wary of Michigan State’s passing ability. When a team can pass the ball well in their half-court set and make the extra pass and get easy baskets, that puts pressure on the defense and in some cases can put them in a hole.
1. Aerial Powers: Powers is a baller. She averages a double-double per game (21.7 points per game and 12.2 rebounds per game). After her performance against Michigan statistically, anyone can be able to tell how dominant she is on the floor. It would be wise for the Terps to double team her which could either neutralize her or allow for others to get free off the double team. Somehow, someway, the Terps are going to need to take away her production.
2. Tori Jankoska: Jankoska averages 17.5 points per game and 6.9 rebounds and is a 37 percent three-point shooter, which is a relatively good number from back there. The Terps will have to be careful and not allow her to get going.
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Keys to the Game:
1. Shut Down the Paint: The Terps need to lock down the paint and not give the Spartans opportunities to get second chance points and possessions, because this team averages 43.3 rebounds per game. If Maryland wants to win this game, one of the ways they can do it is by being physical inside. They will have to be smart and not get into foul trouble in the process.
2. Push the Ball in Transition: The women’s team, like the men, excels when they push the ball and score. It gives them the opportunity to score quick points and get back on defense. That’s when they’re at their very best.
3. Press, Press and More Press: Zone I don’t think will be effective against this team. Full court or some form of tight half court pressure is going to hold Michigan State at bay.
Maryland moves on to the semifinals with a 65-55 win.They’ll take it on a late run in the second half but the game will be close throughout.
Update – final score: