No. 5 Maryland close out perfect run in Big Ten play
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Maryland coach Brenda Frese is no stranger to success but she hardly expected perfection in the Terrapins' inaugural Big Ten season.
Fifth-ranked Maryland used its depth and strong second half play to overpower No. 25 Northwestern as Sunday's 69-48 Big Ten victory cemented an unbeaten league season.
''I don't think I could have predicted it,'' said Frese, who guided the Terrapins to last year's NCAA Final Four. ''You talk about making history with a team that had a lot of unknown going into the season, a new conference and new teams and they continued to separate themselves every day''
Maryland, which moved over from the Atlantic Coast Conference, went 18-0 against Big Ten opponents this season.
Brionna Jones had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 11 points as the Terrapins (27-2) pulled away in the second half for their 21st straight win.
Nia Coffey scored 14 points, Lauren Douglas had 11 and Maggie Lyon added 10 as Northwestern (22-7, 12-6) had its eight-game winning streak end.
Maryland clinched the Big Ten regular-season title outright last week and heads into this week's conference tournament in suburban Chicago as the top seed.
Northwestern closed with its most successful regular season in 19 years.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Laurin Mincy and Chloe Pavlech put the Terrapins ahead 27-21 with 5:49 left in the first half, an advantage they maintained on their way to a 32-26 lead at the break.
Northwestern managed just one field goal and missed 11 straight shots in the first nine minutes of the second half. Maryland, meanwhile, added inside scoring to the mix on the way to a 47-33 lead with 11:29 showing.
''I think it was our depth,'' Frese said. ''Northwestern isn't as able to go as deep as we are. . Being able to expand with different players coming in with great energy was big for us and that separation happened in the second half.''
The Terrapins opened a 60-39 lead as Moseley hit a 3-pointer and Walker-Kimbrough added a free throw with 6:13 to play.
''The second half we just couldn't get going on offense,'' said Northwestern coach Joe McKeown. ''I think we shot the ball quickly and maybe a second or two out of our rhythm, just not doing the things that we've done all year offensively.''
Maryland: The Terrapins' regular-season title is the fourth in coach Brenda Frese's 14 seasons, including three in the ACC before joining the Big Ten in 2014.
Northwestern: The Wildcats' 12 conference wins are the most since 1992-93. Northwestern remains three wins away from matching the school record of 25 wins set in 1978-79.
Maryland enters the Big Ten tournament as top seed and opens Friday at the Sears Centre in suburban Chicago.
Northwestern is the tourney's No. 4 seed and also plays Friday.