When the Terps need big-time buckets, they turn to their star player, Diamond Miller.
Maryland shot 35.8% from the field in an uncharacteristically poor shooting night, but Miller still scored a game-high 29 points.
She lifted Maryland to a 66-61 hard fought victory over the Spartans.
“I just try to stay poised, you know, understanding that your skills and preparation for games like this is what you do,” Miller said.
Emotions were high before the game, given the tragic shooting that occurred on Michigan State’s campus earlier this week.
The Spartans battled hard and played with passion throughout the game, making it an especially tough environment for Maryland.
“Michigan State plays hard and they are strong. They’re resilient and didn’t stop. They didn’t care what the score was, they played the same way the whole time, which is something we need to do. They attacked us and were not afraid of us today,” Miller said.
Both teams struggled from the free throw line despite getting there frequently, leaving points out on the court. Maryland was 24 of 37, while Michigan State shot 15 of 24.
“You saw our shooting percentages. They were pretty poor. We knew we needed to get to the free throw line. Typically, we shoot it better from the free throw line, which we weren’t as good from tonight, but we needed every single one of those 37 free throw attempts,” Coach Brenda Frese said.
Both teams started cold on the offensive end. There were only four made field goals combined by the teams in the first almost seven minutes.
Michigan State led 14-9 after a sloppy first quarter.
Both teams continued to have difficulties shooting the ball in the second quarter. The Spartans shot 26.9% from the field in the half, and Maryland was only slightly better at 29%.
Diamond Miller was the one player able to find consistent offense. She drove to the paint aggressively and was the only player in double digit points in the half with 13 points.
Her willingness to attack the paint helped the Terps take a 27-26 lead into the half.
Miller began to take over in the third quarter. She started to score at will and led the Terps on a 13-3 run to open the second half.
The Spartans fought back to cut the margin to six, but Maryland then went on a 14-4 run to take a comfortable 16 point lead.
The Maryland supporting cast finally saw some shots fall in the third. Abby Meyers had an abysmal first half shooting the ball, but she found her touch and scored nine points in the quarter.
Michigan State battled back in the fourth quarter and went on a 11-2 run to cut the lead to six.
The Spartans hung around, but untimely errors in key spots hurt them. Michigan State had five turnovers in the fourth quarter, and they all seemed to come in crucial moments, when they had the chance to seize momentum.
However, the Terps were also loose with the ball, and two turnovers led to two triples that put the Spartans back in the game.
Michigan State had the ball, down by three, with a chance to tie with only 16 seconds remaining. However, DeeDee Hagemann missed from behind the arc, and the Terps hung on to win.
“Michigan State was one possession away from being able to take this game away from us, but I liked the fact that we were able to hang on and get a tough road win,” Frese said.
Maryland faces off next in a huge matchup with No. 7 Iowa in Xfinity Center on Tuesday.