After a Michigan State three-pointer increased its lead to seven points, Shyanne Sellers hustled down the court and fought through defenders. She extended her body up toward the basket and made a layup while drawing a foul for an and-one opportunity.
Sellers made her free throw and cut Maryland’s deficit to just four. The junior point guard scored 13 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter as she attempted to secure the victory for the Terps Tuesday. But Sellers’ best efforts were not enough.
Maryland women’s basketball lost its second Big Ten game of the season, 74-69, after Michigan State’s strong offense clicked in the second half. The Terps (10-5, 2-2 Big Ten) played aggressive defense in the first half but failed to shut down the Spartans (12-3, 2-2 Big Ten) for the full 40 minutes.
“Our third quarter really impacted us. The foul trouble, a ton of missed layups that you’ve got to be able to finish on the road,” coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought they were the more aggressive team, they scored 52 points in the second half.”
Maryland drew its first foul less than three minutes into the game, sending Bri McDaniel to the line to put her team up by two. The Terps had another trip to the free-throw line less than a minute later, aiding an early 8-0 run. Eight of their 17 first-quarter points came from the charity stripe — six of those were scored by McDaniel.
Free throws allowed Maryland to keep up with Michigan State’s aggressive offense, which made seven field goals in the first frame compared to the Terps’ four.
McDaniel scored her first field goal of the game in the second quarter, making a layup through traffic before dishing out a pass to Brinae Alexander for a three-pointer.
“We put an emphasis on driving hard and off two, so that was really my main focus,” McDaniel said.
The sophomore’s offense proved crucial to keeping hold of the Terps’ lead after their hot start to the second quarter abruptly stopped, turning into a four-minute scoring drought in which Maryland missed six consecutive shots.
The Spartans also suffered shooting struggles in the second frame. The score remained 22-20 for more than three minutes as neither team could find the bottom of the net.
Michigan State, which entered Tuesday’s contest making 38.2 percent of its three-point attempts this season, shot just 2-for-15 in the first half, in part due to Maryland’s defense. The Terps’ used their length to block the view of the basket and contest shots. The Spartans finished the game shooting 7-for-26 from deep.
Maryland ended its scoring drought and finished the second quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 29-22 advantage into the break while holding the Spartans scoreless for nearly the final four minutes of the half.
Michigan State circumvented Maryland’s strong perimeter defense by driving to the basket for layups in the third quarter, fighting back from its halftime deficit and reclaiming the lead about halfway through the frame.
“Third quarter, we came out flat and that was our Achilles heel in the game,” Sellers said.
The Spartans outscored the Terps 24-14 in the third quarter while looking like the squad they were in their previous games — a high-volume shooting team that records plenty of assists and limits turnovers.
Meanwhile, Maryland had its worst quarter of the game. The Terps struggled to defend without fouling, which put Michigan State in the bonus. The Spartans took advantage and made seven free throws in the frame, making it all the more difficult for Maryland to regain the lead.
McDaniel and Sellers went to work in the fourth quarter, attempting to keep the game within one possession. At the same time, Michigan State finally found its groove outside the arc as three different Spartans made three straight three-pointers.
Sellers and McDaniel scored 13 and eight points in the final frame and finished with 23 and 20, respectively, but the duo couldn’t help the Terps reclaim the lead after one of the top offenses in the Big Ten finally clicked.