INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota came into Friday night’s Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal playing feisty and fast. The Gophers, riding the momentum of a close win over Penn State the day before, were determined to upset No. 4 Maryland.
But the Terrapins had other plans, despite what coach Brenda Frese called a slow start.
After trailing 4-0, the Terps went on a 14-2 run and put it on cruise control from there. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough made six 3-pointers and scored 28 points as Maryland advanced to the semifinals with a 92-80 victory.
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”I think Minnesota came out and threw the first punch,” Walker-Kimbrough said. ”They came out, pushed the tempo, pushed the transition … but I thought that we responded really well.”
Maryland took a 27-14 lead into the second quarter and led by 14 at halftime. Walker-Kimbrough scored 16 points in the third quarter and Maryland led by as many as 23 in the second half.
Kaila Charles added 15 points and Brionna Jones had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Maryland (27-2), which hit 11 3-pointers and scored 28 points off 19 Gophers turnovers.
Destiny Slocum scored 13 for the Terrapins, who will play Michigan State in the semifinals on Saturday.
Gadiva Hubbard had 28 points and Carlie Wagner scored 21 for Minnesota (15-15).
Minnesota’s bench outscored Maryland’s reserves 41-15, but the Terps shot 52 percent from the floor while Minnesota finished at 44 percent.
The Gophers’ effort never wavered. But every time Minnesota began gaining some traction, cutting the deficit to 11 or nine points, Maryland stymied the Gophers’ efforts with a scoring run of its own – or Frese would call a timeout, halting Minnesota’s progress.
”Sometimes it’s difficult (to get going) when you’re starting a tournament. Minnesota came out, having played the day before, really aggressive – especially on the glass,” Frese said. ”I thought once we were able to settle in we were able to make a lot of plays.”
With a conference tournament championship, Maryland would put itself in prime position to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Terps are two wins from their third straight Big Ten Tournament championship. Since joining the league, Maryland has won at least a share of the regular-season title each year in addition to its two conference tournament crowns.
Minnesota: Will wait to see if it receives a postseason bid.
Maryland: Will play Michigan State in the semifinals on Saturday.