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Michigan deals No. 13 Terps women third straight loss and blow to Big Ten title hopes

After three seasons of regular-season and tournament title sweeps, the Maryland women’s basketball team’s stranglehold on the Big Ten Conference trophy case is close to over.

With a 71-65 loss Thursday at Michigan, the No. 13 Terps (22-6) no longer have the inside track to the No. 1 seed in the league tournament and the regular-season title, which they shared last season with Ohio State. Maryland’s first-ever loss to Michigan dropped the team to 11-4 in conference play, one game behind the Buckeyes (23-6, 12-3), who need only to beat Penn State on Sunday to secure the crown outright.

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It’s the first time Maryland has lost three straight games since early in 2014, a season that ended up in the Final Four. The Terps’ four conference defeats are also one more than their total over their first three seasons in the Big Ten, which they joined for the 2014-2015 season.

Coming back from 11 down early in the second half, Maryland beats Northwestern to win first Big Ten road game since Dec. 3 at Illinois.

A week after a disappointing home loss to Purdue and four days after a blowout defeat at Minnesota, Maryland never led during Michigan’s Senior Day. The Terps inched within a point several times in the fourth quarter but failed to pull ahead, undone by poor defense (Michigan shot 48.1 percent from the field) and faulty outside shooting (Maryland went 0-for-9).

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Terps sophomore wing Kaila Charles had a game-high and efficient 27 points, and limited Wolverines star Katelynn Flaherty to 4-for-14 shooting, though the senior guard did finish with 17 points. But other than sophomore forward Stephanie Jones (13 points) and junior forward Brianna Fraser (11 points), help for Maryland was scarce.

Senior guard Kristen Confroy was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and 1-for-8 overall. Junior wing Eleanna Christinaki and freshman point guard Channise Lewis, both starters, played a combined 31 minutes, benched for much of the second half.

Michigan’s Akienreh Johnson, who was averaging 2.5 points heading into the game, finished with a team-high-tying 17 points off the bench. Her 3-pointer with 1:43 remaining pushed Michigan's lead to 66-61, and Maryland never got closer than three.

Maryland 12 21 14 18 —65

Michigan 21 14 15 21 —71

MARYLAND (22-6): Charles 12-20 3-4 27, Jones 4-10 5-7 13, Christinaki 1-2 0-2 2, Confroy 1-8 0-0 2, Lewis 0-3 0-0 0, Ellison 0-0 0-0 0, Fraser 4-7 3-4 11, Myers 1-2 0-0 2, Small 4-9 0-0 8, Totals 27-61 11-17 65.

MICHIGAN (21-8): Dunston 2-6 1-2 5, Thome 5-6 3-4 13, Church 0-5 0-0 0, Flaherty 4-14 6-6 17, Munger 4-5 5-6 15, Peace 0-1 0-0 0, Robbins 2-4 0-0 4, Johnson 8-11 0-0 17, Totals 25-52 15-18 71.

3-Point Goals: Maryland 0-9 (Confroy 0-6, Lewis 0-2, Myers 0-1), Michigan 6-10 (Dunston 0-1, Flaherty 3-5, Munger 2-3, Johnson 1-1). Assists: Maryland 10 (Myers 4), Michigan 16 (Flaherty 4). Fouled Out: None. Rebounds: Maryland 28 (Jones 8), Michigan 32 (Johnson 8). Total Fouls—Maryland 16, Michigan 14. Technical Fouls: None. A: 2,964.

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