Brown's 27 points helps No. 4 Maryland top Michigan St 70-60
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) No. 4 Maryland combined a brisk start and superior depth to wear down Michigan State for a 70-60 win Friday in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The Terrapins (28-2) ran their winning streak to 22 and Big Ten run to 19 straight, including an 18-0 regular season.
''I thought our strong start was really, really impressive and it was probably our best 40-minute games defensively,'' said Terrapins coach Brenda Frese.
Sophomore Lexie Brown scored 27 points as the top-seed Terrapins advanced to Saturday's semifinals at the Sears Centre against No. 24 Northwestern. The Wildcats beat No. 23 Rutgers 62-57 on Friday.
Maryland never trailed and opened an early 11-4 lead while Michigan State missed seven straight field-goal attempts before Aerial Powers hit a jumper at the 12:39 mark.
The Terrapins then went on a 12-2 run in the next four minutes for a 23-8 lead. The Spartans cut it to 23-13 with the help of a 3-pointer by Powers.
''Trying to wear them out, our depth was a huge factor being able to go 11 players through this rotation,'' Frese said, ''and obviously our floor general Lexie played one of her best games.''
Powers had 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Tori Jankoska added 19 points for the Spartans (16-15).
Maryland led 33-24 at halftime, with Brown scoring 15 points. Michigan State shot just 8 of 29 (28.6 percent) behind 14 points by Powers.
The Terrapins took command in the second half with a 16-4 run, with a full-court press forcing three turnovers en route to a 60-41 lead with 8:23 left.
''We started pressing them and they started turning the ball over and I think that give us the confidence,'' said Maryland center Brionna Jones. ''Then they were losing confidence, and we just built on that and kept trying to wear them down.''
The Spartans got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
''I felt like the second half, I was kind of forcing things, trying to get things going,'' Powers said, ''because the deficit, we cut it down and it went back up.''
Maryland: The Terrapins were the first women's team in school history to go undefeated in a regular season and first unbeaten in Big Ten regular-season play since Purdue's 16-0 finish in 1984-85.
Michigan State: Powers led the Big Ten with 22 double-doubles in regular-season play, third in the nation. She averaged 21.7 points and 12.2 rebounds and added a team-leading 1.2 blocks per game.
The Terrapins won two regular-season meetings with the Spartans. They earned a 85-56 decision on Jan. 22 at home and a 75-69 victory on Feb. 16 at East Lansing. Five Maryland players scored in double figure in each.
Frese was voted coach of the year in the school's first year in the Big Ten conference. She was also the league's top coach in 2002 while at Minnesota. Four Maryland players earned All-Big Ten honors, with sophomores Brown and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough voted to the first team. Redshirt senior Laurin Mincy and sophomore Brionna Jones made the second team.
Maryland: Plays No. 24 Northwestern on Saturday.
Michigan State: Eliminated, postseason to be determined.