No. 4 Maryland pulls away from Penn State
By TRAVIS JOHNSON
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Maryland can win plenty of ways, with newcomers sinking baskets or with veterans steadying the course after rough starts.
The No. 4 Terrapins leaned on the latter group to beat Penn State 77-61 on Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Kaila Charles scored 16 of her 23 points in the second half and Stephanie Jones added 17 points for Maryland (12-0). She also helped lock down the Lady Lions' shooters in a fourth quarter that saw Penn State score just four points.
"I trust these two with everything," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "Just that aggressiveness in their trap-set, it was a slower-paced game to begin with so I thought that really raised the level of play."
The Lady Lions led most of the way until Maryland went up for good after Jones hit a pair of free throws with 8:08 left.
"We needed to bring our own energy," Charles said.
It came on the defensive end where Shakira Austin, a freshman who entered the night with back-to-back 17-point games, pulled down 10 of her game-high 11 rebounds and joined Jones to hold Penn State to just 12 fourth-quarter shots.
Maryland won the rebounding battle 52-29 with 38 in its own end and Taylor Mikesell had 13 points for the Terrapins who trailed 57-56 after three quarters.
Teniya Page led Penn State (7-5) with 24 points, and Kamaria McDaniel had 16. The Lady Lions lost for the fourth time in seven games.
"We did a pretty good job defensively for the first three quarters of the game," Penn State Coquese Washington said. "I thought we were aggressive, on both ends of the floor."
Maryland opened a 15-8 lead before Penn State's offense came alive late in the first quarter.
Jaida Travascio-Green made a 3-pointer to spark a 13-3 run over the final 3:39 of the first.
Page scored nine of Penn State's final 13 points in the first half to help the Lady Lions take a 41-39 lead.
Frese has been around long enough to know the results weren't going to keep coming relatively easy, especially in conference play.
Maryland had beaten each of its last four opponents by at least 24 but failed to mount runs with 10 first-half turnovers.
"I thought it was a wakeup call for us," Frese said. "You see what conference (play) looks like."
Penn State got Travascio-Green back in the lineup for the first time since last season when she suffered a left knee injury.
Travascio-Green was one of the team's most potent 3-point shooters and entered the game 13th in program history with 117 3-pointers.
Maryland: Picked to win the Big Ten by coaches and the media, the Terps have proven they can win with secondary scoring if their young stars take a while to get going - as they did Friday. Maryland players said they felt as if they played sloppily in a Dec. 20 outing against Delaware and will definitely have plenty to clean up after this one, notably 18 turnovers.
Penn State: The Lady Lions entered the game having won just five of their last 24 games against Top 25 teams since the 2014-15 season. Washington has something to build on after her team matched pace with a squad that had been blowing opponents out by an average of 26.3 points per game.
Maryland: Hosts Rutgers on Monday.
Penn State: Visits Indiana on Monday.
Updated December 28, 2018