Maryland Terrapins Women Capture First B1G Title


This is what Big Ten basketball fans have been waiting for. A chance to see the two best teams in the conference go at it. The Maryland Terrapins and Ohio State Buckeyes, the powerhouses of the conference met Sunday night, and they certainly wanted to send a message to one another. One team wanted to prove they’re not going to let a newcomer beat them and put a “number one” in the conference  loss column, while the newcomer wanted to validate their Big Ten domination with a championship. The Maryland Terrapins did just that, but not by much, winning this battle of wills, 77-74.

Maryland gained their biggest lead of the first half early, after a three-pointer by Laurin Mincy and runner in the paint by Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. This gave Maryland a five-point lead, 17-12 with under 13 minutes to go in the half. The Lady Terps went on 10-2 run to end the half and had an eight-point lead, 42-34. On the final play, some great post play was executed by Malina Howard, allowing her teammate Brene Moseley to get the ball in the basket with seconds running down.

The Terps had the hot hand from the three-point line, they shot 7-for-10 from downtown and out-rebounded the Buckeyes 41-12. Talk about a team being physical! The Lady Terps deciding to go big at the four and five positions with Malina Howard and Brionna Jones was a great strategy.

Top performers of First Half:

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Lexie Brown: 11 points, five assists

Laurin Mincy: Eight points, four rebounds

Kiara Leslie: Eight points, four rebounds, and three assists

Ohio State:

Kelsey Mitchell: 11 points, three assists

Alexa Hart: Seven points, four rebounds, two assists

As they did against Northwestern, the Lady Terps put their foot on the gas in the second half by jumping out to a 15-point lead, 50-35. They still remained hot from behind the arc and still were physical on the boards. Under 15 minutes to go, their lead was cut to seven after a three-pointer was hit on Mitchell’s second attempt and the score was 52-45, Terps. She had 18 points after getting another bucket. Mitchell this year really has been the lifeblood of Ohio State’s squad as a freshman, and this game was no different.

Ohio State was knocking on the door, trying to get the lead back. Only down by three, 54-51, Mitchell was giving the Lady Terps headaches defensively, and head coach Brenda Frese was concerned. After some back and forth scoring between the two teams, Walker-Kimbrough got a rebound, ran the length of the court, made a contact layup and gained an and one opportunity but didn’t convert. The score was 60-56 Terps at this point with under eight minutes remaining.

These two teams traded baskets left and right; the game was close throughout the last six minutes and both teams were in the bonus. Tightly-contested tournament basketball is always great to see. 69-67 with under five minutes to go and this game came down to who wanted it more. Rebounding, the story of the game for the Terps, propelled them to a five-point 73-68 lead, but Ohio State wasn’t going down without a fight.

Mitchell hit a three ball in the corner to put her team within two, 73-71. She had 31 points after that three was made, trying to will her team to victory. It was Cait Craft, however, who made a big three-point shot to bring Ohio State within one, 75-74 with under a minute to go. Ohio State had a chance to make a play, but while driving the lane and attempting to take a shot, Mitchell was bumped and an offensive foul was called. Game ends and the Maryland Terrapins became Big Ten Tournament champions thanks to Lexie Brown making two free throws to seal the victory.

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This game was a great example of two heavyweights going at it and giving the fans a show. The key for Maryland in this win was three-point shooting and rebounding. The Lady Terps physicality on the offensive glass was something that was a constant in this game. So much so that the Terps 22-5 rout in that category was accompanied by 49 defensive boards. They also were a hot 9-for-17 from the arc at 52 percent. Ohio State had a lot of fight in them but it wasn’t enough to snatch the championship game away from the Lady Terps.

Player of the Game: The starting five for the Terps gets my player of the game award. True platoon system type of performance, with four of them putting up doublefigure point numbers.

Honorable Mention: Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State is a beast. No one can deny that her 31 points and four assists gave the Terps fits, and she deserves credit for the way she played. She is going to be a great player for Ohio State, and from what I’ve seen has the looks of a phenomenal WNBA player. It would be great to see her play all four years at Ohio State.

Next: Building momentum is why #10 Maryland must stay focused against Nebraska