COLLEGE PARK, MD (AP) — As if scoring 13 points and grabbing 15 rebounds wasn’t enough, Maryland freshman Shakira Austin’s biggest contribution to a win over Michigan was seven blocked shots — most of them against Hallie Thome, the Wolverines’ biggest star.
The No. 9 Terrapins placed five players in double figures and used a 30-point fourth quarter to register an 83-69 victory Saturday. Afterward, Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico was asked how one devises a game plan to prevent the 6-foot-5, long-armed Austin swatting away shots in the lane.
“Golly, that’s a problem,” Barnes Arico said. “That’s what makes her a special player. When you have a shot-blocker like that, it’s incredible.”
For Austin, timing is everything.
“Basically, it’s timing the layup and getting in position,” she said.
Austin knocked away several shots by the 6-5 Barnes early in the game, then clogged the lane in the fourth quarter when the Wolverines were attempting a comeback.
“We had lanes to the basket and she was able to recover and come from out of the play and disrupt our shots,” Barnes Arico said.
Taylor Mikesell scored 17, Blair Watson had 14 and Stephanie Jones added 13 for the Terps, who also got 11 assists from reserve Channise Lewis.
“We have to have to have that kind of balanced attack in order to be successful,” coach Brenda Frese said.
The Terrapins led 55-54 before five different players scored in a 13-4 run that made it 68-58 with 5 minutes left.
Maryland went 10 for 13 from the floor, including 3 for 4 beyond the arc, and forced Michigan to miss 12 of 20 field goal attempts..
The victory thrust the Terrapins into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten, a half-game behind Rutgers. Maryland (15-1, 4-1) has won three straight since losing to the Scarlet Knights on Dec. 31.
Thome had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan (11-6, 2-3). It was the third double-double for the senior and second in two games, despite the defense of Austin in the middle.
“To Hallie’s credit, she did a tremendous job,” Barnes Arico said. “Her shot was blocked a number of times, and she did not get a foul call. But she kept going back at them.”
Maryland won despite committing 15 turnovers, 10 in the first quarter but only two after halftime.
The Terps made five 3-pointers in the second quarter to wipe out a seven-point deficit and take a 35-34 halftime lead.
Austin had four points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in the opening five minutes, but Michigan forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter and used runs of 9-0 and 8-0 to move in front 21-14.
It was 25-19 before Lewis and Mikesell hit successive 3-pointers to spark an 11-2 spurt.
After Thome scored seven points in a 13-5 run that put Michigan ahead 52-46, Austin scored five straight points and Mikesell hit a runner to provide the Terps a 53-52 lead entering the fourth quarter.
HITTING THE BOARDS
Maryland entered with a plus-13.5 rebounding margin, fifth-best in the country, but Michigan won the battle of the boards 43-41 — snagging 18 on its own end.
“I’m really proud of the way we rebounded,” Barnes Arico said. “That’s one of the strengths of our team, as well.”
Michigan: Despite the loss, the Wolverines showed their mettle against a Top 10 team. Michigan is 2-4 against ranked foes this season, beating Missouri and Minnesota, and the Wolverines came close to adding another notch in this one.
“Our team is a work in progress,” Barnes Arico said. “We’re just not finishing down the stretch.”
Maryland: The Terrapins were careless with the basketball and forced to play from behind for much of the game, but they finally found their groove in the fourth quarter. That’s when they showed precisely why they’ve resided in the Top 10 for the entire season.
Michigan: The Wolverines travel to No. 17 Iowa on Thursday night.
Maryland: The Terps face 23rd-ranked Michigan State on the road Thursday night.