One of the Maryland women’s basketball team’s priorities for its contest at Michigan on Thursday was to shut down the Wolverines’ all-time leading scorer, guard Katelynn Flaherty. In one big moment, the Terps let her get free.
Flaherty knocked down a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner with 2:35 remaining in the fourth quarter to give Michigan a four-point cushion, which was all the Wolverines needed.
Maryland, meanwhile, failed to make a single 3-pointer and never led en route to its third straight loss. The Wolverines outlasted the Terps, winning, 71-65, extending Maryland’s losing streak to three games.
“We competed hard, regardless of the score, for 40 minutes,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we were really trying to play for one another.”
Guard Kaila Charles finished with a game-high 27 points, while Flaherty and guard Akienreh Johnson each scored 17 for the Wolverines.
Much like in their previous two games, the No. 13 Terps (22-6, 11-4 Big Ten) were lethargic from the start and stumbled into an early hole. Maryland turned the ball over five times in the first quarter, leading to nine Wolverines points.
The Terps’ offense went scoreless for nearly four minutes near the end of the first quarter, allowing Michigan (21-8, 10-6 Big Ten) to build a nine-point cushion.
Guard Ieshia Small knocked down a jumper to come within seven points with 7:43 left in the half, forcing Michigan to take a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Wolverines scored five straight points to extend their lead to a game-high 12 points. Then, the Terps woke up.
Maryland finished the second quarter on a 15-5 run and cut the deficit to two points heading into the break, led by guard Kaila Charles’ 12 first-half points. At halftime, the Terps had 12 points off turnovers and didn’t allow Michigan any in the second quarter.
“[We] never quit,” Frese said. “Any time you go on the road in this conference, with the road schedule and this now being our fifth game out of seven on the road to end it, I thought we showed great character and great toughness to come in and compete for 40 minutes.”
Neither team could pull away in the third quarter, each going 6-of-14 from the field and never extending a lead wider than five points. The Wolverines led 50-47 entering the final 10 minutes.
Despite its best efforts, Maryland could only close the deficit to one point as the Wolverines staved them off on their Senior Night. Leading by three with 28 seconds left, guard Nicole Munger battled through traffic to make a layup when the Terps needed one more stop down the stretch.