By Gillian Vesely
It wouldn’t be outlandish to assume that a 26-point, 10-rebound game from a single player would be enough to lead her team to victory. But when a player on the other team scores 27 points, it’s hard to be so sure. Such was the case in a 70-60 Maryland win over Michigan State Friday afternoon in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals in Illinois. Aerial Powers provided those 26 points for the Spartans, but Lexie Brown boosted her Terps with that 27-point production. Brown also had seven steals in the contest, tying her career high.
The Terps were aggressive from the tip-off, double teaming Powers and pressing the Spartans early on. They held the Spartans scoreless for about the first four minutes of play, until Powers knocked down two free throws to get Michigan State on the board. Despite scoring the first six points for her team, Powers headed to the bench with about 12 minutes remaining in the half due to foul trouble, and the Terps took full advantage of her temporary absence. Maryland was able to work the foul throughout the entire half, putting themselves in the bonus with over eight minutes to go before halftime. Kristen Confroy was especially active on both ends of the floor, scoring all six of her points in the opening frame. Both teams’ school songs played as the teams went to the locker rooms with a first-half score of 33-24, Maryland.
Michigan stuck around in the second half, though, and brought it to within six thanks to efforts from Powers and Tori Jankoska (19 points). But Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough continued to fill up the stat sheet, finishing with nine points, six rebounds, five assists, a steal, and a block before fouling out with just under five minutes remaining in the game. Despite Powers’ 24th double-double of the year, Maryland’s defense caused 16 Michigan State turnovers, allowing the Terps to run their beloved fast-break offense. Maryland will face the winner of Friday’s match-up between Northwestern and Rutgers in the Semifinals.