Maryland women’s basketball smashes Iowa to claim Big Ten lead

No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball faced, and overcame, a challenge on Thursday, dismantling the No. 20 Iowa 93-59. Maryland avenged its January 66-61 loss to the Hawkeyes, extending its win streak to 10 games.

As Terrapins fans chanting “overrated” towards the Hawkeyes, Maryland made a statement on the court, accumulating its highest point total in conference play this season. In the previous game between these two foes, Maryland shot just 31 percent from the floor compared to 56 percent tonight.

Iowa trailed from the start as Maryland took a 25-14 lead to end the first quarter.

“The thing I love about this team is that they are a bunch of competitors,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said.

Cheryl Miller Award finalist Kaila Charles, was the ignitor for Maryland’s offense again, scoring the first basket of both the first and second quarters. Charles added to her draft stock, leading five Maryland players in double digits with 21 points and nine rebounds, surpassing 1900 career points.

“[Charles] set the tone from the tip,” Frese said. “She definitely showed who the best player in the conference is in this game.”

Iowa attempted to control the pace of play, but the Terps’ press defense forced multiple shot clock violations in the first half, leading to a number of easy buckets. Meanwhile, Iowa only mustered nine points in the second period, and Maryland’s offense picked up the pace. The Terps’ 48 points were the most points in a half in conference play, and they led 48-23 at the break.

Maryland allowed only two Iowa players to reach double figures. Guards Kathleen Doyle and Makenzie Meyer combined for 41 points in the previous game against Maryland, but were held to 25 of Iowa’s season-low 59 points.

“We didn’t have a great game the last time,” said Charles. “We are taking pride in the defensive end.”

Maryland, outscoring Iowa 58-26 in-the-paint, was helped by Stephanie Jones and Shakira Austin, who were imposing inside. Austin — enjoying one of her better games of the season — put up 20 points and seven rebounds.

“I like this mean Shakira,” said Coach Frese. “She was dynamic; she separated herself.

The Terps didn’t let up in the second half. They opened the third quarter with a quick 7-0 win to expand their lead to 32 points. Most importantly, though, the Terps continued to force turnovers from a sloppy Iowa offense. The Hawkeyes coughed up the ball 11 times in the third — helping contribute to Maryland’s 37 points off turnovers on the night. 

Iowa outscored Maryland in the fourth quarter — but it didn’t matter. By then, the Terps had made their statement. Memories of an early season embarrassment were buried, with Maryland snatching first place in the Big Ten, and announcing themselves as presumptive favorites come tournament time.