- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Maryland trailed for much of the game, grew frustrated by its miscues and needed to make key plays down the stretch under pressure.

Just what the No. 6 Terrapins were craving.

Brionna Jones had 20 points and a career-high 20 rebounds and Maryland pulled away late to beat Washington State 79-69 on Saturday.

Maryland (6-0) entered having won each game by at least 32 points. The Terrapins’ largest deficit was 2-0 and it had trailed for less than 2 minutes total in five games.

“This team is really, really competitive, so I think they’d much rather play in games like this where you’re tested to be able to see how to work through a game,” coach Brenda Frese said. “We really enjoyed it.”

The Cougars led by six in the first half and for much of the third quarter. With game tied at 61, Jones hit two free throws and Destiny Slocum added a 3-pointer and two free throws in a 10-2 run to put Maryland ahead 71-63 with 1:39 left at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.

“I think this just shows how hard we have to compete going forward,” Jones said.

The senior center’s offensive rebounds helped keep her teammates in it in the first half. She delivered clutch plays down the stretch as her teammates found a rhythm.

“She was huge,” Frese said. “We knew we were going to be able to go inside, but her presence, they had no answer for her on both ends of the floor.”

Kaila Charles scored 19 points, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had 15 and Slocum 11 for Maryland in its final tuneup before its showdown at No. 4 Louisville on Thursday.

Borislava Hristova scored 25 points on 11-of-19 shooting for Washington State (4-2). The Cougars were 7 of 21 from the foul line.

“I’m really proud of our team. I thought we had a good tournament here,” Washington State coach June Daugherty said. “We played very well the other night against Nebraska and I thought for about three and a half quarters, we played pretty well against the No. (6) team in the country.”

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: Winning games by 56, 45 and 64 points before routing No. 23 Arizona State by 41 Friday may have led to a lack of intensity. There were plenty of missed layups and poor passes allowing the Cougars to gain confidence in a physical game.

Washington State: The Cougars, picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12, have plenty of contributors. For the sixth straight game, 12 players saw action. Daugherty, in her 10th season, had her players diving for loose balls and drawing charges in an inspired performance.

POLL IMPLICATIONS:

Maryland could move up a spot by jumping over the loser of Sunday’s game between No. 3 South Carolina and No. 4 Louisville. Thursday’s matchup with the Cardinals in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge figures to be the top game of the week.

JONES’ DOMINANCE

Jones said she maybe had a 20-20 game in high school, but “not recently.” Her previous career high was 19 rebounds.

HRISTOVA SHINES

Hristova, the Pac-12’s second-leading freshman scorer last season, was held to nine points against Nebraska and previously suffered through 4-of-13 and 5-of-14 shooting games.

“She has not been happy with her play on both ends of the floor,” Daugherty said. “To her credit, she just relaxed a little bit and let the game come to her for a while. Then she got some confidence and she tried to take over the game, which is great to see.”

FREE THROW WOES

Daugherty looked at the stats sheet and the 14 missed free throws and declared, “That’s ballgame.”

Caila Hailey went 2 for 8 from the line.

UP NEXT

Thursday will be Maryland’s first trip to Louisville since beating the Cardinals to advance to the 2014 Final Four.

Washington State returns home to face San Diego on Friday, its fourth West Coast Conference opponent of the season. The Pac-12 opener is Dec. 27 at No. 15 Washington.

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