The win streak ends at five.
Big Ten powerhouses met up in College Park on Sunday as No. 22 Northwestern (17-3, 7-2 B1G) fell to the No. 20 Maryland Terrapins (16-4, 7-2 B1G) on the road. It’s the ’Cats’ first away loss of the season, and it knocks Northwestern to second place in the conference standings.
The first quarter was dominated by defense, but Maryland took advantage of Northwestern’s rebounding struggles as their offense heated up. The Terrapins had some luck with ricochets as well, but their rebounding was only one strong part of their defense. Maryland was able to contain the Wildcats’ offense early and kept them to only 11 points.
Maryland lost playmaker Shakira Austin to an ankle injury in the last 30 seconds of the first quarter that would keep her out for the remainder of the game. She led the team in rebounds after the first 10 minutes, and the Wildcats took advantage of her absence in the second quarter.
Down six points at the beginning of the second quarter, the ’Cats stormed into their first lead of the game only three minutes after the break. Lindsey Pulliam (20 pts, 5 reb) got hot quickly, sinking a long two-pointer and hitting a three from behind the arc in a minute-and-a-half span.
The defense stepped up to match Maryland’s first quarter intensity as well, out-rebounding Maryland on the defensive end and forcing five Maryland turnovers. At the end of the first half, the Wildcats held a 30-27 lead, having run their way out of a deficit.
Late in the third quarter, the tide turned once again. Maryland took advantage of about everything the ’Cats gave them. Senior forward Stephanie Jones (14 pts, 11 reb) brought down offensive rebound after offensive rebound, allowing the Terps to continue to score second chance points. Multiple turnovers by Northwestern gave Maryland even more chances on offense, and the Terps finished the third quarter on a 12-1 run to take a 48-40 lead into the final quarter.
The ’Cats entered the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to two, but Maryland immediately turned around with an 11-3 run that just about put Northwestern away for good. It was a back-and-forth battle for a lot of the game, but Maryland had a near-perfect final 15 minutes that the Wildcats couldn’t quite match.
The Wildcats continue Big Ten play on Thursday night when they return home for their matchup against the Michigan Wolverines.