By Brittney Bridges
Maryland women’s basketball suffered its third loss of the season — its first loss in Big Ten play on Thursday night against the Michigan State Spartans (12-5, 2-2 Big Ten). Coming off a 13-game winning streak, the Terps fell 82-68.
The game started out close throughout the first quarter of play, with Maryland only down by two going into the second quarter. But as time ran out before halftime, the Spartans slowly ran up the lead to seven.
Despite managing to cut the lead to 45-43 by the three minute mark in the third quarter, Michigan State stretched it out by 11 and never looked back. Maryland wasn’t able to get the lead down to fewer than nine points.
Brianna Fraser led the way with 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Eleanna Christinaki and Stephanie Jones followed each contributing 13 and 12 points. It was a relatively quiet night for Kaila Charles, Kristen Confroy and Iesha Small; all whom scored in single digits.
Maryland shot 39 percent from the field, compared to Michigan State’s 44. On paper, the stats looked relatively even: Maryland even outrebounded MSU 44-38 overall. The real difference came down to taking care of the ball. The Terps committed 24 turnovers, most coming off of fundamental mistakes. Lack of scoring from other key players also seemed to play a big factor in the Terps surprising defeat.
This loss comes on the same day that sophomore guard Blair Watson was announced to miss the rest of the season after she tore her ACL in practice on Wednesday. She was the second leading scorer for Maryland along with third in the Big Ten in three-point shooting (44 percent). With this loss, Maryland’s roster shrinks even more with only nine players active. In Thursday’s game, only seven players suited up.
“Obviously we’re disappointed for Blair,” head coach Brenda Frese said in a release earlier in the day. “She was having a really fantastic season and we are going to miss her presence and playmaking ability on the court. We’ll do everything we can to help her in her recovery and support her through the process.”
Michigan State’s Taryn McCutcheon scored a career-high 25 points, followed by Shay Colley who added another 17 points. The Spartans suffered prior losses to Minnesota, Rutgers and Notre Dame. Despite being ranked eighth in the Big Ten, they pulled out the impressive win in College Park.
Maryland drops to 15-3 and takes its first loss in Big Ten play (4-1). The Terps have a five day break until their back at it against Indiana at Xfinity Center at 7:00 p.m.