It would not be crazy to assume, from a practicality standpoint, that shots taken closer to a basketball hoop are more likely to go in than shots taken further away. In Sunday's game against Northwestern, the Maryland Terrapins - and one player in particular - didn't abide by that assumption.
As a team, the Terps shot 45 percent from the field and 53 percent from behind the three-point line. As an individual, guard Kristen Confroy shot 80 percent from three (on 8-of-10 shooting) and about 67 percent from the field (on 8-of-12 shooting) for the Terps, tying a school record for most threes in a game. Confroy also pulled down 10 rebounds, recording her first career double-double.
Suffice it to say, Maryland was able to top Northwestern, winning 80-62. The Terps' strong play started early; they opened the game with a 7-0 run, forcing Northwestern head coach Joe McKeown to call a timeout within minutes of tipoff.
The Wildcats double- and triple-teamed Maryland center Brionna Jones from the game's opening, forcing Maryland to work the ball around the perimeter. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that plan may have backfired. Three different Terps - Confroy, Brene Moseley (17 points, seven assists), and Tierney Pfirman - all scored from three in the first quarter alone, contributing to a 26-13 Maryland lead at the end of the first frame.
The Terps' Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (15 points, five rebounds) showed her true versatility throughout the first half and into the second, scoring via layups, runners in the lane, mid-range jumpers, threes, and free throws. With fewer than 30 seconds remaining in the first half, Walker-Kimbrough took a feed from Moseley and converted an and-1 to send the Terps to the locker room with a 44-30 lead.
The second half proved to be the Kristen Confroy show, as the sophomore nailed five threes, adding to the three long-balls she had in the first half. As consistent as Confroy was, nobody's shot was longer than that of Northwestern's Ashley Deary, who hit a buzzer-beater from well over half court as time expired in the third quarter, bringing the tally to 65-53, Maryland.
Despite Deary's best attempts, the Wildcats were unable to carry their momentum into the fourth quarter. They allowed Maryland to score six unanswered points to open the frame, stretching the lead to 71-53.
Northwestern had three players with double-digit scoring totals - Nia Coffey (19 points), Christen Inman (13 points), and Maggie Lyon (13 points) - but was restricted to 37 percent shooting from the field. The Terps' bench outscored the Wildcats' bench 25-8.
Northwestern will face Minnesota on Wednesday, Jan. 20; Maryland will take on Wisconsin the same day.