Indianapolis, IN — Maryland had never lost a single game in the Big Ten tournament in all four years that they’ve been a part of the conference — until tonight. Ohio State ended the Terps undefeated post-season history streak in this year’s tournament championship, with a final score of 79-69.
The outcome of this match-up was nearly decided before the first half even ended. Throughout the entirety of the second quarter, Ohio State took over the game and completely buried Maryland, outscoring them 27-9.
While watching that uncharacteristic Terps performance, you couldn’t help but ask, is this the same Terps squad that beat the Buckeyes by 30 points just over a month ago?
It was honestly hard to tell if that lopsided quarter was due to Ohio State turning up the heat, or if it was just Maryland falling asleep on both sides of the ball. The Terps defense seemed to have disappeared, and they were not completing the simple things that needed to be done on the offensive end.
Missed layups, careless turnovers, and a deflated defense really put the Terps in a dangerously deep hole that would take a major game change to come out of.
Although when that second half began, I still felt a lingering glimmer of hope Maryland would find a way to change the momentum of the game and fight out of that 17-point hole -- and boy, did they deliver. Just when Ohio State thought they had the game in the bag, Maryland snuck right back up within two points of the Buckeyes in the final quarter, thanks to the incredible composure of Kristen Confroy sinking threes around the arc.
However, the Terps were not able to completely fight back in to the lead and defend their Big Ten title this year. Ohio State put the game away with a 10-point cushion in the final two minutes to take home the win.
So a very deserving Ohio State team is named Big Ten Champs and secure their spot in the NCAA Tournament as a force to be reckoned with. And you can’t talk about this dominant Buckeye performance without mention of yet another record breaking game by Kelsey Mitchell. Mitchell added to her already impressive list of tournament records with a new record of highest scoring player in Big Ten Tournament history.
Now, Maryland Terps must await their fate of where they will be seeded in the National Tournament. But luckily for us, there’s still plenty of basketball to be played!