Terps out­last Wolver­ines as Frese cel­e­brates mile­stone again


The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY GENE WANG

Brenda Frese col­lected her 500th ca­reer vic­tory this past week with rel­a­tive ease, but be­cause the Mary­land women’s bas­ket­ball coach’s mile­stone un­folded on the road, the cel­e­bra­tion fea­tur­ing pre­re­corded video con­grat­u­la­tions from for­mer play­ers was con­fined to the vis­it­ing locker room.

The ac­com­plish­ment was ac­knowl­edged Satur­day at Xfin­ity Cen­ter with far greater fan­fare be­fore the Ter­rap­ins tipped off against Michi­gan. Frese was pre­sented a bas­ket­ball with “500” painted in bright red num­bers while re­ceiv­ing a stand­ing ova­tion.

Vic­tory No. 501 fol­lowed shortly there­after, though it re­quired a de­ci­sive fourth-quar­ter surge from the ninth-ranked Ter­rap­ins to se­cure an 83-69 tri­umph over the Wolver­ines.

Guard Tay­lor Mike­sell led Mary­land (15-1, 4-1 Big Ten) with 17 points and five as­sists, and cen­ter Shakira Austin added 13 points and a game-high 15 re­bounds to help ex­tend the Ter­rap­ins’ win­ning streak to three.

Guard Blair Wat­son (14 points) had a pair of three-point­ers in the fourth quar­ter as Mary­land beat the Wolver­ines for the sixth time in seven meet­ings. Wat­son’s sec­ond three-pointer pro­vided the Ter­rap­ins with a 75-64 cush­ion with two min­utes to play that all but set­tled the out­come.

Five Mary­land play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures, in­clud­ing 13 from Stephanie Jones and 12 from Kaila Charles, a for­mer Wash­ing­ton Post All-Met Player of the Year at Riverdale Bap­tist.

The Ter­rap­ins shot 52 per­cent but com­mit­ted 15 turnovers, al­though just two came in the sec­ond half. They also fin­ished ahead in fast-break points 26-16 and made 9 of 20 (45 per­cent) from three-point range.

Hal­lie Thome scored a game­high 25 points on 11-for-16 shoot­ing for Michi­gan (11-6, 2-3), which played its sixth game against a ranked op­po­nent. The Wolver­ines won their most re­cent such matchup, up­end­ing then-No. 12 Min­nesota, 76-60, in Ann Ar­bor on Jan. 8.

Guard Amy Dilk (12 points) was the only other Michi­gan player to score in dou­ble fig­ures. The Wolver­ines shot 38 per­cent and went 4 for 12 from three-point range.

The teams traded bas­kets to the fourth quar­ter un­til Mary­land got con­sec­u­tive three­p­oint­ers from Wat­son and Mike­sell to ex­pand its lead to 66-58 with 6:49 to play. Wat­son as­sisted on Mike­sell’s three-pointer, with Frese rais­ing her arm as the ball swished through the net, lead­ing to a Michi­gan time­out.

Mary­land found it­self in the largely un­fa­mil­iar and cer­tainly un­com­fort­able po­si­tion of play­ing from be­hind for most of the third quar­ter, trail­ing by as many as six. But the Ter­rap­ins closed with seven unan­swered, in­clud­ing a three-point play from Austin.

The cen­ter­piece of Frese’s highly re­gard fresh­man class also had an op­por­tu­nity for a three-point play ear­lier in the quar­ter, but Austin (Riverdale Bap­tist) missed the bonus foul shot. Mike­sell scored the fi­nal points of the third quar­ter to give Mary­land a 53-52 lead.

The Ter­rap­ins went into half­time lead­ing 35-34 fol­low­ing a sec­ond quar­ter in which they made five three-point­ers, two of which came cour­tesy of Sara Vu­jacic, a ju­nior from Slove­nia who trans­ferred from a com­mu­nity col­lege in Ten­nessee.

By the end of the first half, Vu­jacic had logged more min­utes (11) than she had in Mary­land’s pre­vi­ous five games com­bined (seven). The 5-foot-11 guard played only one minute in the Ter­rap­ins’ 81-63 vic­tory over Ne­braska on Tues­day when Frese achieved win No. 500.

Both of Vu­jacic’s three-point­ers Satur­day broke ties, and Charles, Mike­sell and Chan­nise Lewis also con­verted from be­yond the arc dur­ing a sec­ond quar­ter in which Mary­land cor­rected sloppy bal­lopen han­dling that had pro­duced 10 turnovers over the game’s first 10 min­utes.

Michi­gan closed the first quar­ter on a 17-4 run for a 21-14 lead. Seven play­ers scored for the Wolver­ines, among the few teams in the Big Ten with the size and length in the front­court to match Mary­land.

The Ter­rap­ins en­tered the week­end first in the Big Ten and fifth in the coun­try in re­bound­ing mar­gin (plus-13.5), and Michi­gan was sec­ond (plus-11.6). They are the only two pro­grams in the con­fer­ence to av­er­age dou­ble-digit re­bound­ing mar­gins.

Mary­land was out­re­bounded for the first time this sea­son, with the Wolver­ines hold­ing a 43-41 ad­van­tage, in­clud­ing 18-7 of­fen­sively in a game with 11 lead changes and a dozen ties.

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