By: Hannah Fields
The Maryland women’s basketball team suffered a 93-74 loss when they travelled to face the Minnesota Gophers on Sunday. This marks the team’s second loss in a row after falling 75-65 to Purdue on Thursday.
The No. 10 Terps (22-5, 11-3) sprung into action with the first points of the game, but their lead quickly dwindled as the Gophers (21-6, 10-4) started knocking down shots inside the paint and on the perimeter.
Junior guard Eleanna Christinaki immediately made her presence known on the court by scoring the first five points of the game, but could not get her offense going for the remainder of the game. Junior guard Kristen Confroy sunk a couple of threes early in the first quarter and looked like she was going to give the Gophers trouble, however, it was the Gophers that found luck behind the arc.
Three was the lucky number for Minnesota, shooting 14-24 on three-pointers for the day, while Maryland struggled finding the same success on offense. Shortly into the fourth quarter, the Gophers were shooting 72% on three-pointers after standout performances by Gadiva Hubbard, Kenisha Bell, and Destiny Pitts.
On the defensive side, the Terps struggled to cover Bell inside the paint and capture defensive rebounds. At the end of the first quarter, the Gophers outscored the Terps 12-4 on second-chance points and took at 24-19 lead.
Maryland was forced to call a timeout after allowing Minnesota to go on a 7-0 run and extend their lead to 33-22. After the break, the Terps looked to be gaining some momentum after a layup from Christinaki, but Hubbard quickly answered with another three-point shot.
Turnovers hurt the Terps’ already frazzled offense, and two straight turnovers from the Terps only allowed Bell and the Gophers’ offense more opportunities to drive inside the lane.
The Terps seemed to be taking a note from Minnesota’s playbook when they forced two straight turnovers, leading to an easy layup by sophomore guard Kaila Charles and a 6-0 Maryland run. Just as the momentum started to shift in favor of Maryland, Pitts spoiled their run with yet another shot from outside the arc.
By the end of the half, the Gophers led the Terps 53-39 thanks to Hubbard’s 13 points and Pitts’ 11 points solely in the first half.
The Gophers grew their lead through their three-point shooting, and Maryland’s woes only worsened when sophomore forward Stephanie Jones got her fourth personal foul and was forced to leave the game temporarily.
Three after three, Minnesota increased its lead in the third quarter to 25 points.
Pitts went down with an apparent knee injury in the fourth quarter, and the tide was starting to change for the Terps. The Maryland offense went on an 8-2 run but was unable to cut the large Minnesota lead, falling 93-74.
The Terps will face another challenge when they take on Michigan on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.