Jones helps No. 6 Maryland hold off South Dakota St 62-55
ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) Maryland faced its first real test of the season, and the Terrapins passed.
They had won their first four games by an average of 51.5 points, but had to rally to stay unbeaten.
Brionna Jones had 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the No. 6 Terrapins beat South Dakota State 62-55 on Friday night in the Paradise Jam.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 19 points for Maryland (5-0), which blew a 10-point halftime lead before holding off the Jackrabbits.
With Maryland down 50-48 midway through the fourth quarter, Walker-Kimbrough and Jones took over. The pair combined for eight straight points to give the Terrapins a 56-52 lead with 1:26 left. Madison Guebert hit a 3-pointer 24 seconds later to get the Jackrabbits within one. That was the last point they would get and Maryland hit four of six free throws in the last 1:02 seconds to seal the win.
''They're all not going to be pretty. We hung in there, we were resilient,'' Maryland coach Brenda Frese said, ''It was nice for us to have that kind of test. You're going against a team that isn't going to go away. They had a tough game against Notre Dame and we knew they were going to be a really tough opponent. To come in here and be battle-tested against a great team made us better.''
Macy Miller scored 13 points and Guebert added 11 to lead South Dakota State (3-2).
''Maryland is a great team. We played really well. Played good defense, but when it came down to it, we couldn't get the rebounds we really wanted and didn't make the shots at the end,'' Miller said.
The Terrapins got off to a quick start outscoring the Jackrabbits 17-4 in the first quarter behind Walker-Kimbrough and Jones. The pair combined to score the first 15 points for Maryland. The Jackrabbits missed 16 of their first 17 shots.
''We played very well the last three quarters of the game. Unfortunately we couldn't get enough offense going in the first quarter,'' South Dakota State coach Aaron Johnston said. ''Our 1-for-17 start from the field was a big hole to dig out of. Our defense was excellent and helped keep the game in reach and as our offense picked up we eventually took the lead late in the game. Playing quality opponents is the best way to learn about our true strengths and weaknesses.''
Maryland was up 10 at the half before the Jackrabbits rallied. They tied it at 46 on a 3-pointer by Gabrielle Boever, her only points of the game. Miller's layup with 5:36 left gave South Dakota State it's only lead at 50-48.
This was the second top 10 team this season that the Jackrabbits hung tough with. They lost to No. 3 Notre Dame by 11 earlier in the season.
''(Games like this) build up our confidence a lot. Losing to Notre Dame by 11 and Maryland by 7, I think going into each and every game we are going to have to use that,'' Miller said. ''We know we can compete with these good teams.''
Maryland: The Terrapins have been ranked in 97 straight Associated Press polls, dating to the preseason poll of the 2010-11 season. ... Jones' career high for points (24) was set against Illinois last season.
South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits have played Maryland once before, losing in Cancun, Mexico, in 2008. ... The Jackrabbits are 16-13 in regular-season tournaments.
Maryland will face Pittsburgh on Saturday.
South Dakota State will play Old Dominion on Saturday.