The Terps came into Thursday’s matchup versus Michigan winner’s of five straight (all five conference play) and although Michigan is a good team, third ranked Maryland should easily take care of them right? Wrong!
This game was a dogfight from beginning with Michigan going up early and forcing Maryland into early foul trouble and careless turnovers. The Wolverines led by one (19-18) after the first period. Maryland went on an 8-0 run in the first 90 seconds of the second period to gain momentum, but Michigan continued to fight by cutting the deficit to four by the half (39-35).
In the third quarter, both teams were trading baskets and when it seemed like Michigan would have the momentum, Kiah Gillespie hit a 35-foot buzzer beater to go up by three (64-61) but secured control of the game for Maryland. Edging out the Wolverines 83-70, Maryland proved that when the going gets tough, they have the depth and versatility that few teams in the country has which is why they are one of the best teams in the country.
Having a game changer is always an advantage: The Terps having Brionna Jones is a blessing. Even with her being early foul trouble, she was able to bounce back and lead the team with 25 points and 10 rebounds making it her ninth straight double-double. She seemed to always have a scoring response after every time Michigan tried to runaway with the momentum. She is the true definition of putting the team on her back.
Free Throw misses: The Terps struggled with from the charity strike as they were 8-17 on Thursday. As tourney season approaches, this is something that can catch Maryland slipping.
Katelynn for three: Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty had a game high of 30 points and it seemed like she was unconscious from the field. With Maryland being one of the better defensive teams in the country, any player dropping 30 on them is commendable.
Depth is a major key: In order for Maryland to really make a run at their first title since 2006, their depth will be the biggest reason. As great as seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (who had 17 points and 8 rebounds) are, its people like Kiah Gillespie would sparked the team with nine points, Ieshia Small and the star freshwomen Kaila Charles and Destiny Slocum who will be the key factors at the Terps chances at greatness this season.
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— Jerrell Leeper (@DapperJ) January 19, 2017