No. 7 Maryland’s 8-game winning streak snapped at No. 14 Iowa, 86-73
After eight straight wins, the No. 7 Maryland Terrapins were defeated by the No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday afternoon, 86-73. Despite junior forward Stephanie Jones’ team-high 21 points and eight rebounds, the Terrapins were able to stay atop the Big Ten standings.
“[Iowa] never stopped moving and they know their role," said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. “They all understand how to win and that's accepting your role and they do a good job within their role."
Midway through the fourth quarter, there was hope. The Terrapins (23-3, 12-3) led by one point, thanks to the offensive efforts of freshman guard Taylor Mikesell, who finished the game with 14 points and five assists.
Maryland’s fortune quickly changed as they constantly put the Hawkeyes (21-5, 12-3) on the foul line. Iowa made 23 of their 25 attempts in the second half and hit 27 of their 29 (93.1%) free-throws overall.
Forward Megan Gustafson recorded a game-high 31 points for the Hawkeyes, 24 of which came in the second half. Gustafson also recorded 17 rebounds and hit 10 of 11 free-throws.
Maryland contained Gustafson in the first half with double-teams and shading in her direction, but the Terrapins couldn’t stop the nation’s leading scorer for a full 40 minutes.
“When [a double-team] happens, I'm able to figure out what else I can do to impact the game, whether that is getting my teammates open or being a decoy," Gustafson said. "I don't mind doing that at all. I have 100 percent confidence in them and that's why our team is so good right now."
Said Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder: "We believe in all of our parts. We’re always hunting for Megan ... in the end, she’s going to wear teams out.”
Maryland was tied with Iowa at the half, 33-33. But the Hawkeyes out-rebounded the Terrapins, 41-37, and used a massive free-throw discrepancy to build a sizeable lead. Iowa was fouled 25 times to Maryland’s 10, although multiple fouls came within the final minute, as Maryland was attempting to mount a comeback.
“I credit these guys so much, it's hard to do as an athlete some time,” Bluder said. “You work hard and it is fun to score points, but they get as much excitement out of that assist as they do the basket. That's what makes this team special."
Maryland’s loss drops them to a tie with Iowa for first place in the Big Ten.
The Terrapins will face the Minnesota Gophers on Feb. 21 at the Xfinity Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.