INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Stephanie Jones scored 18 points and Ashley Owusu had 17 points and 11 assists to lead No. 6 Maryland past Ohio State 82-65 in Sunday’s Big Ten tournament championship game.
The Terrapins (28-4) won their 17th game in a row, earned the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid and captured their first tourney crown in three years. It’s Maryland’s fourth tournament title in the six years it has been a member of the league.
Dorka Juhasz scored 20 points and Kierstan Bell had 13 to lead sixth-seeded Ohio State (21-12), which ran out of steam after winning three times in the previous three days and had won four straight overall.
As usual, the Terrapins turned the game with defense — limiting the Buckeyes to just one basket during a 6 1/2-minute stretch that began late in the second quarter and ended midway through the third.
Maryland took advantage by using a 9-2 run to help build a 44-35 halftime lead before pulling away in the third with a 12-4 spurt that made it 56-39.
Ohio State, which trailed by as much as 22, never recovered.
Ohio State: Just when it appeared this weekend might be a chalk tournament, the Buckeyes stunned No. 19 Iowa before beating rival Michigan to reach the title game. Yes, they are young. But they showed Sunday that they are fast, tough and the future is bright in Columbus — perhaps even as soon as this postseason.
Maryland: Do the Terrapins deserve a No. 1 seed? They earned a share of the second-toughest conference’s regular-season title and rolled through the league tournament with three straight double-digit victories. They haven’t lost since since Jan. 9 and have a potent offense and a suffocating defense.
All they can do is see if the selection committee agrees.
Ohio State: Jacy Sheldon had 11 points and was 3 of 8 on 3-pointers. … Madison Greene had seven points, five rebounds and five assists. … Bell also had six rebounds and five assists. .. The Buckeyes went 10 of 26 on 3s and were outrebounded 48-30. … Only Purdue (nine) has more tourney titles than the Buckeyes. Maryland is third.
Maryland: Sharika Austin had 14 points and eight rebounds. … Jones also had 10 rebounds, posting her second double-double in three days, while Owusu finished with six rebounds. … Blair Watson had 11 points, six rebounds and four steals. … Taylor Mikesell scored all 12 of her points on 3s. … Kaila Charles scored six points to move within 16 points of reaching the 2,000-point mark.
Ohio State: Must wait until next Monday to find out its postseason fate.
Maryland: Also will be in a holding pattern until the NCAA Tournament bracket is released.