Spartans remain perfect at home win over No. 9 Maryland
The No. 17 Spartans remain perfect at home (9-0) with a 77-60 upset win over No. 9 Maryland.
Former Spartan Tori Jankoska was present, but as part of the Maryland coaching staff.
“Actually having Tori sitting over there on the sideline made me want to beat them more to be honest," Coach Suzy Merchant said. “We really wanted to win this game for a lot of reasons, but in the back of my mind I was like, ‘Spartans gotta win. I don’t care if Tori’s over there.’”
The Spartans started off hot with back to back threes from Coco Gaines and Nia Clouden putting the Spartans up 6-4. Jenna Allen went on her own 7-0 run, making the Spartans 3-3 from behind the arch at the beginning of the first quarter.
The Terrapins finally ended a 5:01 scoring drought and 16 unanswered points with a pair of Brianna Fraser free throws.
Back to back threes from Sidney Cooks ended the first half with the three point lead for the Spartans, 37-34.
Aggressive defense lead by Madrekia Cook and Cooks held Maryland to 14.3 percent shooting from behind the arch and 42.3 percent from the field. Brianna Fraser led Maryland with 12 points and 6 rebounds.
The Spartans shot 51.9 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from behind the three line. Allen had 10 points and Clouden with 3 rebounds.
Five Spartans had at least one three in the first half, Gaines, McCutcheon, Clouden and Cooks with Allen having two.
“It felt really good because I know when we all play together and we all contribute, that’s when we usually win," Clouden said. “It shows that we can play with the best teams in the Big Ten and the best teams in the country.”
The third quarter was a battle in the trenches and ended in a 12 point deficit for the Marlyand as the Spartans outscored them, 22-13.
The physicality the Spartans showed held Marlyand to 45.5 percent field shooting in the fourth quarter.
Both teams had foul trouble as Shay Colley picked up her fifth late in game and Maryland had two players with four fouls by the end of the game.
Allen led the Spartans with 16 points, Clouden had 15 points and lead the team in rebounds with 9 as well as Cooks 11 points off the bench.
The Spartans shot 49.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the three point field.
Maryland ended up shooting 41.2 percent from the field, led by Brianna Fraser’s 22 points, and 16.7 percent from behind the arch.
“I think our kids have to rally a little bit and I think we were very disappointed in our performance as a group on Monday," Merchant said. "Hopefully that will continue to carry over because Rutgers is as tough as they come.”
The Spartans (3-3 Big Ten) will travel to Piscataway to face the leader of the Big Ten Conference of Rutgers (6-0 Big Ten) on Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.