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No. 10 Maryland women's basketball team loses second game in row, 93-74, at unranked Minnesota

MINNESOTA — The No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball team is slumping at the wrong time of the season.

The Terps (22-5, 11-3 Big Ten) were blown out, 93-74, at Minnesota (21-6, 10-4) on Sunday and have lost consecutive games, both against unranked teams, for the first time this season.

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Just two games remain in the regular season, Thursday night at No. 23 Michigan and Sunday at home against Nebraska, and now Maryland finds itself tied with No. 16 Ohio State atop the conference standings after the Buckeyes beat Purdue, 73-60, on Sunday.

The Terps own the tiebreaker over Ohio State, having routed the Buckeyes, 99-69, on Jan. 22 in College Park.

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Kaila Charles had 16 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for Maryland, which had 14 turnovers and shot just 41.1 percent from the field in the loss. Charles, who entered the game averaging 17.8 points per game, was held scoreless until 5:46 left in the first half.

The Boilermakers, who scored only 44 points in a loss Monday to Indiana, became just the third Big Ten team to defeat the Terps since the league’s expansion in 2015.

Stephanie Jones added 13 points for the Terps, who had never lost to the Gophers in five games since moving to the Big Ten in 2014-15 with former Minnesota coach Brenda Frese. Frese coached the Gophers for one season before joining Maryland in 2002.

The loss was just Maryland's sixth against Big Ten teams since joining the conference.

Minnesota is 13-1 this season at home, including three wins against teams in the Top 25 at the time of the game. The Gophers have won six in a row at home. They beat then-No. 20 Iowa, 77-72, on Jan. 21.

“I think like you've been able to see in the conference race, it's really, really tough to win on the road, and kind of the mentality you have to be able to go in with,” Frese said. “I thought Minnesota was sensational in every effort tonight.”

Freshman Destiny Pitts scored 20 points for Minnesota, hitting six of 11 from 3-point territory, and sophomore Gadiva Hubbard had 22 points.

Kenisha Bell had 21 points as the Gophers shot 14 of 24 on 3-pointers and earned their second straight victory at home against a Top 25 opponent. Minnesota, which has won seven of its past eight, topped Michigan, 93-87, on Wednesday night.

Sophomore wing Kaila Charles led the way again with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

“We knew they were going to hit the 3, but they had a spectacular shooting night,” Charles said. “It's a little frustrating that we'd score and they'd score a 3, and it was kind of hard to come back. We just have to learn from it and move on.”

Featuring two of the three-highest scoring teams in the Big Ten, the game played to a fast pace early with both teams hitting from 3-point territory. Slowly, the Terps’ shots started to miss the mark while the Gophers continued to connect.

Minnesota used a 23-7 run at the end of the first and start of the second quarters to take control. The difference early was the Gophers willingness to go inside, with a 12-4 edge in points in the paint. They held the rebounding edge and were leading 9-0 in second-chance points.

But Pitts and Hubbard kept pouring it on from outside as Minnesota led by as many as 27. Carlie Wagner added 17 for the Gophers.

“I feel like it's hard to match up with our whole team,” Pitts said. “We have four players in double figures. If you try to focus on one, somebody else is going to be open. It's kind of like, you've got to pick your poison on who you guard. It's always nice to know somebody's going to be open.”

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Minnesota hosts Indiana on Tuesday night in its final home game.

“Certainly, a big win for our program as a whole,” Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said. “We're really on a high right now. We're playing extremely well. We're peaking at exactly the right time.”

Maryland held Rutgers to 37 percent shooting and one 3-pointer, and forced 22 turnovers.

Maryland (22-5): Charles 5-17 6-7 16, Jones 5-7 3-3 13, Christinaki 4-10 0-0 9, Confroy 4-14 0-0 12, Lewis 1-2 0-0 2, Fraser 3-5 0-1 6, Myers 2-4 0-0 4, Small 6-14 0-0 12, Totals 30-73 9-11 74.

Minnesota (21-6): Pitts 6-11 2-2 20, Fernstrom 1-2 0-0 2, Bell 7-11 6-10 21, Hubbard 8-13 2-2 22, Wagner 6-14 2-2 17, Bello 2-3 0-0 4, Bello 0-0 0-0 0, Garrido Perez 0-0 0-0 0, Kaposi 0-0 0-0 0, Edwards 2-5 3-4 7, Lamke 0-0 0-0 0, Brunson 0-2 0-0 0, Totals 32-61 15-20 93.

Maryland 19, 20, 15, 20 — 74

Minnesota 24, 29, 26, 14 — 93

3-point-goals—Maryland 5-18 (Charles 0-1, Christinaki 1-5, Confroy 4-9, Lewis 0-1, Myers 0-2), Minnesota 14-24 (Pitts 6-11, Bell 1-1, Hubbard 4-7, Wagner 3-5). Assists—Maryland 23 (Charles 6), Minnesota 20 (Bell 6). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Maryland 40 (Charles 14), Minnesota 37 (Pitts 9). Total fouls—Maryland 16, Minnesota 14. Technical fouls—None. A—4,625.

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