College Park, MD– The #3 ranked Maryland Terrapins (16-1, 4-0 Big Ten) came into this conference game expecting the same results of the previous contests. Second in the nation in scoring margin at 31.8 points per game, some might assume it would be difficult for Coach Brenda Freeze to keep her team locked in for 40 minutes. That was not the case in this competitive matchup with the Nittany Lions that resulted in a 89-83 win for Maryland. Conference basketball is all about execution due to the familiarity of your opponent and Penn State showed that to be true.
Penn State lead 24-22 after the first quarter . The Nittany Lions did a good job of not allowing the Terps to set the tone at home. Guards Amari Carter & Teniya Page, hit shots to keep the lead and responded to every Maryland run. Rebounding kept the home team close with their inability to hit shots outside of the paint. Foul trouble for Freshman Destiny Slocum and Senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough didn’t help matters at all.
With both key pieces sitting early, it was all about Senior Forward Brionna Jones. She was able to control the boards for her team, while reaching a historic mark in the process. Brionna was able to grab her 1,000th rebound of her career with 57.4 seconds in the first half. Jones held things down for her team in a rough first half with 24 points and 7 rebounds. The Terps regained the lead by closing the half strong, the run started with Shatori hitting a three. Sparking a quick run to give Maryland a 44-39 lead at the break.
The Terps tried to pull away early in the second half, creating a quick 16-point lead with 6:45 left in the quarter. Penn State wasn’t ready to go away as Carter & Page kept their team close by responding to Maryland’s run with one of their own. The two talented guards combined to score 49 points on the evening and their team needed every single one of those baskets.
Assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, Tamika Jeter, said her message to her bigs coming into tonight’s game was to “be physical and continue to fight”. Though they were, the night was all about Brionna, as she ended the game with a school record, 42 points, while adding 14 rebounds. Jones’ counterparts were also able to assist her in the victory with complementing a very quiet 16 points from Walker-Kimbrough & 11 points from Slocum.
The Terps are back in action again, January 14 at Iowa.