By Bryan Jones
Strong first and fourth quarters allowed Purdue (17-10, 8-5 Big Ten) to upset Maryland (22-4, 11-2 Big Ten) 75-65 as the Boilermakers were able to shut down the Terps key three-point shooters
Maryland was in danger of being upset from the start after being outplayed by Purdue after a shaky first quarter as it appeared the Terps first quarter struggles has returned that haunted them in the beginning of the season.
Purdue was able to get off to a strong start in the first quarter due to a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field from Ae’Rianna Harris including an incredible play on the fast break as she was able to reel in an errant pass in full stride before finishing at the rim. Harris and the Boilermakers dominated the paint scoring 10 points on 63 percent compared to only four points in the paint by the Terps.
Harris cooled down after the first quarter and finished with 12 points.
“We felt we were able to exploit some things when they were playing zone,” said Purdue head coach Sharon Versyp.
Kristen Confroy shifted the monmented halfway through the second quarter when she nailed a three to finally put Maryland up 26-25. Versyp immediately called a timeout after the shot as the fans in the Xfinity Center all stood to applaud the senior as Confroy was also honored at half court prior to tip-off for hitting her 200th career three-point shot on Sunday.
Maryland was believed to be cruising before the Boilermakers kept chipping away at the lead and finally tied up the score. Maryland had just dominated the second quarter outscoring Purdue 17-9 in the second quarter.
We knew it was going to be a 40 minute game,” said Brenda Frese as she refuted the idea that the Terps became complacent.
The Boilermakers kept chipping away and finally took the lead with under a minute left in the third quarter before Elenna Christinaki converted a three-point play to put the Terps up one.
“If we can shut their threes down, then hopefully we will have a chance to be successful,” said Versyp.
Despite the big shot, Christinaki shot an abysmal 5-of-23 from the field. Meanwhile, Confroy was held scoreless in the second half.
The Christanki shot failed to shift the control of the game unlike Confroy’s in the second quarter. Purdue kept rolling as Dominique Oden scored 10 points despite the fact she only hit one shot prior in the game.
Oden nailed two big threes on back-to-back possessions in the final three minutes that put Purdue over the top.
Freese is looking forward after the loss and focusing on the games ahead.
“This finish is going to tell a lot about us,” said Frese, “We want to be prepared for March.”
The Terps will travel to Minnesota on Sunday to face the Golden Gophers as the Terps continue their tough Big Ten stretch to close the regular season.