COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - After stumbling through a miserable first half, No. 6 Maryland tapped into its depth and took advantage of its size against Michigan in the final 20 minutes.
The resulting 76-56 victory Wednesday night just might pay dividends for the Terrapins down the road in the NCAA Tournament.
The Terrapins (24-3, 13-2 Big Ten) fell behind by nine points in the second quarter and 30-29 at halftime. It was only the third time this season Maryland trailed at the break.
The third quarter, however, was completely different. Jones scored six points in an 11-3 run that put the Terrapins up 40-36, and Maryland tallied the final nine points of the period for a 51-40 lead.
Maryland turned the game into a rout by outscoring Michigan 25-14 in the fourth quarter.
“When we were able to regain some poise and composure, we just did a tremendous job,” coach Brenda Frese said.
Jones and forward Malina Howard dominated the inside, and reserves Kiara Leslie and Brene Moseley combined for 23 points on a night that leading scorer Shatori Walker-Kimbrough was limited to a season-low nine points.
“It was a tough night for Shatori, but I think we’ve grown as a team,” Frese said. “We’re a really talented team and you’ve got to be ready for anything that can happen. It was really good to be able to see the response.”
Kristen Confroy scored 14 for the Terrapins, who completed a season sweep of the Wolverines (15-11, 7-8).
Jones, a 6-foot-3 center, went 8 for 10 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.
Katelynn Flaherty led Michigan with 17 points and Madison Ristovski matched her season high with 15. The Wolverines came in riding a three-game winning streak, their best run in the Big Ten since 2012-13.
For a while, Michigan appeared capable of pulling off an upset. Using an aggressive man-to-man defense, the Wolverines limited Maryland to a season-low 29 points in the first half.
It didn’t last.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half of taking Maryland out of what they normally do,” coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “But the No. 6 team in the country really showed why they’re the No. 6 team in the country with the balanced attack they had. And Brionna Jones just wore us down.”
Flaherty scored 10 and the Wolverines forced 11 turnovers during a surprising half in which Walker-Kimbrough had as many turnovers as points (2).
Maryland went 1 for 5 with six turnovers in the opening six minutes and fell behind 11-4.
After Michigan used a 6-0 run early in the second quarter to make it 21-12, the Terrapins responded with five straight layups to take the lead for the first time.
Although the Terps dominated the third quarter, they didn’t pull away until Howard scored on a drive and Confroy buried a 3-pointer to launch a 9-0 run that gave Maryland its first double-digit lead.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Michigan: With only one senior starter, the Wolverines have plenty of room to grow. “We’re young and we’re going against an experienced team that’s gone to the Final Four. We want to get to that level,” Barnes Arico said. “In the first half we proved we could hang around. Now, our next step has got to be putting together a complete game.”
Maryland: Leslie, a sophomore, had 10 points in 12 minutes. She had a total of eight points in her previous five games.
Michigan: Flaherty has scored 578 points this season. The school record for a sophomore is 580, set by Peg Harte in 1982-83. … The Wolverines were averaging 80.8 points per game.
Maryland: The Terrapins improved to 4-0 against the Wolverines. … Maryland came in leading the nation with a .420 percentage beyond the arc. The Terps went 1 for 5 in the first half and finished 5 for 14.
Michigan: The Wolverines host Penn State on Saturday.
Maryland: The Terrapins travel to Rutgers on Sunday.
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