The Maryland women’s basketball team looked lost in its first game without injured sophomore wing Blair Watson, an 82-68 loss to Michigan State on Jan. 11.
Almost a month later, the Terps found themselves returning to a more familiar scene: beating the Spartans and leading the Big Ten Conference.
Sophomore wing Kaila Charles had 19 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs, to lead No. 10 Maryland to a 76-68 win Thursday night in East Lansing, its 11th in 12 games all time against Michigan State. With their sixth straight victory, the Terps (21-3, 10-1) maintained a 1½-game cushion in the league standings over Ohio State, which they defeated in their lone matchup of the season.
Maryland senior guard Kristen Confroy and sophomore forward Stephanie Jones (Aberdeen) both had 14 points to help ease the burden on Charles, who has scored in double figures in 22 of 24 games this season.
The Terps forced 20 turnovers and held the Spartans (14-11, 4-8) to 38.5 percent shooting from the field. Guard Taryn McCutcheon, who led Michigan State with a career-high 25 points on a career-high six 3-pointers in the Spartans’ upset last month, struggled to free herself from the defense of Charles and junior wing Eleanna Christinaki, finishing 3-for-15 overall and 2-for-10 from beyond the arc.
Maryland, which led for most of the game, seemed to pull away for good in the third quarter, when its advantage swelled to as many as 21 points. But a late rally drew the Spartans to as close as 72-66 in the final minute.