By Bryan Jones
As Maryland continues to find its offensive rhythm without Blair Watson, strong fourth quarter performances from Kalia Charles and Eleanna Christinaki helped seal a 74-70 victory over Indiana.
Scoring 14 of her 16 points in the second half, Charles bounced back to prevent the Terps from dropping their second straight game. Charles nailed the clinching three-pointer to put the Terps up by three with just 41 seconds remaining.
Charles credits her performance to coach Brenda Frese’s message at halftime.
“She was saying you can cdo more than that, just wake up and get in the game,” said Charles.
Frese made the change in the starting lineup in just the second game since losing Blair Watson, Maryland’s second leading scorer, for the season with a torn ACL.
Frese opted to start Brianna Fraser and relegated Eleanna Christinaki to the bench. The Florida transfer made her first appearance with just under seven minutes left in the first quarter.
Christinaki had a strong performance in the loss against Michigan State scoring 13 points, but was held scoreless through three quarters against the Hoosiers. She finished the game with nine points, including a free throw that made it a two possession game in the final 10 seconds.
“She wanted the ball in crunch time, it speaks volumes as she keeps getting comfortable and confident,” said Frese.
A move to start Fraser should of helped Maryland further capitalize on an already substantial rebounding advantage. However, it did not work out for Maryland. The Terps were outrebounded 35 to 31 despite the Terps were nearly out rebounding the Hoosiers by 10 rebounds per game entering Tuesday.
The move did help the Terps interior defense holding Indiana’s senior leader Kym Royster to just two points.
“Our starting five was too quiet,” said Indiana head coach Teri Moren.
There will continue to be an adjustment period for the Terps without Blair Watson as Frese noted that the team will have to play differently with a shorter bench. Kristen Confroy played the entire 40 minutes and scored 15 points.
The Terps will take on No. 8 Ohio State on Monday at Xfinity Center. The Buckeyes are atop the Big Ten standings winning their last 16 games.