INDIANAPOLIS — With the Women’s B1G Tournament finals tonight, Maryland and Iowa are poised to take each other on in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Despite the numbers 1 and 2 teams making it to the finals, the tournament has been filled with upsets and top tier basketball.
#1 Maryland 73, #4 Michigan 72
In Saturday’s first semi final game, Michigan attempted to take down no. 1 Maryland. Earlier in the season, the Lady Wolverines took a hard fall on the road to Maryland, 83-69. Maryland’s win came by 1 point in the rematch.
With 20 seconds left in regulation, Michigan trailed 70-71. Wolverine shooter Naz Hillmon (16 pts.) won an offensive rebound and scored two in the paint for the one point lead. On the next drive, Hillmon fouled Kaila Charles. Her two free throws gave the top-seated Terrapins the lead, and a literal last-second block by Maryland’s Shakira Austin cemented the win.
MD’s Kaila Charles led the game with 22 points and 8/9 free throws. While Michigan held MD to only eight points in the final quarter, the effort wasn’t enough to make up for the Terrapins’ 28 point third quarter.
“I’m really passionate about this game,” Charles said after the win. “I love it. I love the fact that our league is so competitive. I love competition, and I was just excited. I love a close finish. I love to get the adrenaline, so it was just fun.”
With the win, Maryland reaches the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the fifth time in five tries. The Terrapins are 13-1 all-time in the tournament. They are seeking to become the first team in conference history to win four tournament titles in five seasons.
MD: STEPHANIE JONES 5 0 2/4 12; CHANNISE LEWIS 5 0 0/0 10; KAILA CHARLES 7 0 8/9 22; TAYLOR MIKESELL 1 2 0/0 8; BLAIR WATSON 1 4 0/0 14; SHAKIRA AUSTIN 2 0 0/0 4; BRIANNA FRASER 1 0 1/1 3.
#2 Iowa 72, #3 Rutgers 67
Iowa’s offense came out fast and strong in the second semi-final game of the night, but was nearly evenly matched by the opponents. Iowa’s 50 percent field goal shooting looked better than Rutgers’ 41.9 percent, but only accounted for two extra points. Iowa’s free throw shooting, landing 12 of 13, gave the Lady Hawkeyes the edge. Comparing the two teams, Iowa made 27 goals in the paint, six from long rane and 12 from the foul line. Rutgers knocked down 26 for two, seven for three and eight free throws.
For the Hawkeyes, Megan Gustafson, Makenzie Meyer and Hannah Stewart all scored in the double digits. Gustafson, a runner for MVP of the tournament, had a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Rutgers trailed by 20 in the third period, 31-51. The Scarlet Knights went on an 11-4 run to bring the score closer and then dropped 11 unanswered on Iowa to close the gap to three points. According to a press release, Rutgers held 30 of its 31 opponents to below-average scoring. Iowa came in scoring 79.8 ppg and was held to 72.