No. 5 Maryland pulls away from Iowa 75-55 in Big Ten tourney
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Maryland earned the inside track to another Big Ten title during the regular season. On Friday, the No. 5 Terrapins showed how they intend to use it to their advantage.
Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each scored 23 points and led Maryland to a 75-55 rout over Iowa in the conference tournament's quarterfinals.
''Coach challenged us to get paint touches, going hard at the glass, executing and ball movement,'' Jones said after grabbing 15 rebounds. ''I just thought we executed the game plan today.''
Maryland will face Northwestern in Saturday's tournament semifinal.
The Terrapins (28-3), who have won seven straight and 16 of 17, were simply dominant in the middle. They had a 50-18 scoring advantage in the paint, a 42-25 rebounding edge and outrebounded the Hawkeyes 21-7 on the offensive glass.
Defensively, Maryland was just as impressive. After giving up only one basket in the second quarter, the Terrapins allowed just eight in the final 20 minutes, limiting the usually high-scoring Hawkeyes (19-13) to 27 points over the final 30 minutes.
It was a devastating combination.
''I thought our post defense on their bigs was probably the best we've had all year,'' Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
And the Terrapins did all that against a foe that seemed to get hot at the right time. Iowa had won four of its previous six and was trying to fight its way back into the NCAA Tournament.
Now all the Hawkeyes can do is wait.
Ally Disterhoft scored 16 points and Whitney Jennings added 11 as Iowa took a 28-18 lead after one quarter, but it didn't last long.
Maryland opened the second quarter with 12 straight points and when the 17-2 run ended, the Terrapins were in complete control.
When Iowa closed to 41-37 early in the second half, Maryland answered with five straight points and Walker-Kimbrough and Jones accounted for seven points in an 11-0 run later in the third quarter to put it away.
''We had great intensity in the first quarter but, obviously, it takes four quarters to win,'' Iowa coach Lisa Blunder said. ''We had 10 assists and three turnovers in the first quarter, and only two assists the rest of the way. You're not going to win games playing that way.''
The rest of the Big Ten is still trying to catch up to Maryland, which has won two conference regular-season titles and the 2015 tournament title since joining the league last season. Maryland also has 38 wins in its first 40 games in conference play, including the Big Ten tourney.
Iowa went from impressive to struggling in about 24 hours. In Thursday's second-round victory over Michigan, Iowa tied the single-game tourney records with 37 baskets, 28 assists and 12 blocks. On Friday, they finished with 21 baskets, 12 assists and five blocks.
While Jones and Walker-Kimbrough did most of the damage for Maryland inside, they didn't get a lot of scoring help from their teammates. Brene Moseley, the league's Sixth Player of the Year, was the No. 3 scorer with seven points.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes will wait to see if the Big Ten's longest streak of consecutive NCAA tourney appearances will end at eight. ... Kali Peschel was the only other player to reach double figures. She had 10. ... Iowa's top post players, Megan Gustafson and Chase Coley, combined for only 11 points because they were in foul trouble most of the second half.
Maryland: Kimbrough-Walker had eight rebounds. She and Jones combined to take 39 of Maryland's 67 shots. ... The Terrapins hope this will be the first of two trips to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The NCAA Final Four will be played in the same building next month. ... Maryland came into the game with the best 3-point percentage in the nation but went just 2 of 7 from beyond the arc Friday.
Iowa: Awaits its postseason fate.
Maryland: Plays Northwestern in Saturday's tournament semifinal.