Spartan Comeback Falls Short at No. 13/14 Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Trailing by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter, the Michigan State women’s basketball team battled but fell to No. 13/14 Maryland, 94-85 at the XFINITY Center on Saturday afternoon.

The Spartans’ four-game winning streak was halted, as they slid to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in Big Ten action. Maryland improves to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in league contests.

Michigan State had three players in double figures led by 20 points from the sophomore guard Matilda Ekh, who went 5-for-14 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Moira Joiner scored 19 points, tying her career high with five treys. Graduate guard Kamaria McDaniel scored 15 points, adding five boards. Senior forward Taiyier Parks was one rebound shy of her career high with 12 boards off the bench.

Maryland was led by Diamond Miller who scored 25 points, adding eight rebounds.

After jumping out to a 7-2 lead, the Spartans went into a scoring drought, as Maryland went on a 6-0 run. The Terps went up 12-7 as the run improved to 10-0 at the 4:12 mark. A Parks putback layup stopped the run and a Julia Ayrault trey eventually tied the score at 12-12. Despite the scoring drought, the Spartans only trailed Maryland, 17-16 after the first 10 minutes.

In the second quarter, the pace of the game sped up as the teams exchanged baskets. The Spartans used balanced scoring with nine players scoring in the first half. Michigan State ended the half with a 6-0 run, highlighted by a McDaniel trey that tied the score at 40-40. After a quiet first quarter, McDaniel scored 10 points in the second period alone.

MSU foul troubles and an 11-0 run gave the Terps some room to breathe, taking a 53-43 lead. Ekh’s first triple of the game stopped the Maryland spurt to make it a 57-46 ballgame with 4:29 remaining in the third period. Miller and Sellers were too much for MSU in the period, as Sellers led the way with 10 points.

The Spartans weren’t done fighting with a 10-0 run to make it a 72-61 game. MSU was able to get as close as six points after a Joiner 3-point play trimmed the Terp lead to 88-82 with 23 seconds remaining. Michigan State showed its resilience out-scoring the Terrapins 34-24 in the final stanza. Ekh and Joiner combined for 24 of the Spartans’ 34 points, as MSU drained eight treys in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State returns to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center to host Wisconsin on Wednesday, Jan. 11 ay 7 pm in the Spartans inaugural Pride Night.

Michigan State Women’s Basketball Post-Game Notes: vs. Maryland

• For the second-straight game, sophomore forward Matilda Ekh reach the 20-point mark. Against Maryland, she scored 20 points to lead the Spartans, highlighted by 17 points in the second half. Behind a 17 point second quarter against Northwestern, she scored 21 points on Jan. 2. The guard now has six games this season with at least four treys.

• Senior guard Moria Joiner scored a season-high 19 points against the Terrapins, including 10 in the fourth quarter alone. She was just one point shy of tying her career high of 20 points at Rutgers on Jan. 1, 2020. She tied her career high with five 3-pointers, going 5-for-8 for the game. This was the fourth time in her career that she drained five treys in a game. Joiner added a season-high eight rebounds and tied a season high with five assists.

• Senior forward Taiyier Parks was one rebound shy of her career high with 12 boards against Maryland. She has pulled down 13 rebounds twice with the last occurring against Ohio State on Feb. 27, 2022. Her previous season high was nine earlier this season against Purdue Fort Wayne on Nov. 10. She also added six points, going 3-for-7 from the field.

• Five of Michigan State’s six losses have come by 10 points or less. Three of the Spartans’ defeats came at the hands of ranked teams, including No. 5/4 Iowa State, No. 3/4 Ohio State and No. 13/14 Maryland.

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