By: Alejandro Cornman
The No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball team pulled away late, opening up conference play with a 77-61 away victory over Penn State. The win sees the Terps improve to a perfect 12-0 on the season, while the Lady Lions fall to 7-5.
After a closely contested first three quarters, the Terps finished the final 8:49 of the game on an 18-0 run to seal the victory.
The series between the Terps and the Lady Lions is now tied at 14 apiece, however Maryland has won the last 6 matchups.
Kaila Charles led the visiting Terrapins with 23 points, also picking up 6 rebounds. Stephanie Jones also had a strong night for the visitors offensively, going 7-of-11 from the floor and finishing with 17 points. Taylor Mikesell was the final Terp in double figures, finishing the night with 13 points of her own.
The Terps continued their success on the glass that they have shown all season. They outrebounded the home side 52-29, with 38 of them coming on the defensive glass.
Freshman Shakira Austin had a game-high 11 rebounds, 10 of them coming in the first half. Blair Watson picked up eight rebounds of her own for the visitors.
For the first three quarters of play, the Terps were on upset watch. In fact, the Lady Lions led at the end of each of the first three quarters.
Maryland started the game strong, hitting their first three field goals of the game, which helped them to an early 7-3 first quarter lead. A 6-0 run saw the Terps lead by as much as 13-6, but the home side finished the quarter on a 13-3 run, giving the Lady lions a 21-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Lions continued their success from the first quarter, building a 30-23 lead four minutes into the second quarter. However the visiting side quickly responded, going on a 7-0 run to even the score at 30 apiece.
The two sides traded baskets for the rest of the quarter, but a Kamaria McDaniel 3-pointer with three seconds in the half gave Penn State a 41-39 lead going into the locker room.
Out of the break, the game remained even. Aside from a short 8-1 run by the Lady Lions, the two sides continued to trade baskets for a majority of the third quarter.
The quarter ended with the home side holding a narrow 57-56 lead, and it looked like the final quarter was going to be a nailbiter, much like the rest of the game was.
However, the exact opposite happened. The two sides traded baskets early, and Amari Carter hit a jumper for the Lady Lions, giving them a 61-59 lead with 8:49 remaining in the 4th. Those would be the last points that the home side scored for the remainder of the game.
For the rest of the quarter, the Terps went on a long, methodical 18-0 run. Kaila Charles, scored eight of her 23 points in that stretch, and a Blair Watson 3-pointer with 57 seconds left made the score 77-61, putting the icing on the cake for the Terps.
A game that for three quarters had seemed like an upset in the making quickly turned into a smooth sailing victory for the Terrapins.
The 12-0 Terps continue conference play with Rutgers on Monday, Dec. 31, when they host Rutgers at 12 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.