EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Brionna Jones scored 17 points, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Laurin Mincy each had 15 and No. 5 Maryland escaped with a 75-69 win over Michigan State on Monday night.
Lexie Brown added 14 points and Tierney Pfirman 11 for the balanced Terrapins (23-2, 14-0 Big Ten), winners of 17 straight games.
Aerial Powers scored 18 points for the Spartans (12-14, 4-11). Tori Jankoska and Becca Mills each had 14 and Cara Miller had 10.
Michigan State led by a point with less than 10 minutes left but couldn’t make enough shots down the stretch to turn a scare into a shocker.
Maryland shot 46 percent from the field to Michigan State’s 40 percent and had a 46-32 rebound advantage. But if the Spartans had converted more than seven free throws in 18 attempts or made a third of their open looks, the Terrapins might have had a loss instead of their second-closest win this season.
Lexi Gussert tied the game at 42 with a 3-pointer, and Mills put the Spartans up 44-42 with a layup a minute later. Maryland answered with a jumper by Walker-Kimbrough as the shot clock expired and a free throw by Jones. After Powers connected inside, Pfirman gave made it a three-point lead with two baskets.
Trailing 49-46, Michigan State answered with a corner 3 from Miller. And a flagrant elbow by Walker-Kimbrough allowed Jankoska to put the Spartans up 50-49 with a free throw. It was the last time they led.
Brown, Jones and Walker-Kimbrough took over from there with eight straight points. After a layup by Miller, Walker-Kimbrough’s three-point play gave the Terrapins a 60-52 cushion. A basket by Pfirman and a free throw by Jones made it an 11-point game.
But Michigan State refused to go away and took advantage of Maryland mistakes to cut the lead to 68-61 with 57 seconds left. A second flagrant foul on Walker-Kimbrough, her fifth foul of the game, gave MSU a final chance. But Gussert missed two foul shots and Jankoska missed an open 3 and a putback in traffic, allowing Jones to grab the rebound and convert two foul shots.
A Gussert 3-pointer cut it to 70-64. And after Mincy connected twice at the line, Mills added another 3 to make it a five-point game. But Pfirman’s two misses at the line didn’t matter when Mincy grabbed the rebound and scored to ice the game.
Brown outscored the Spartans 7-6 in the first seven minutes. But Michigan State rallied to lead three times: 13-11 on a 3-pointer by Anna Morrissey, 21-20 on a 3 by Mills and 23-22 on a putback by Kennedy Johnson.
The Spartans had other chances, missing nearly a dozen shots within 4 feet of the basket and having Powers, an 80-percent shooter at the foul line, miss her first five free throws. That allowed the Terrapins to close the half with an 11-3 run for a 33-26 edge.
Brown had 12 points in the period as her team appeared to take control. But the Spartans weren’t done and made it a much better game than an 85-56 mismatch on Jan. 22.
Maryland: The Terrapins, No. 4 in the nation in field goal percentage and No. 5 in scoring, came up short of those season averages. They won with a 28-15 edge on the defensive board and by shooting 30 percent better at the foul line, making up for 18 turnovers.
Michigan State: Powers came into the game with 19 double-doubles, second-most in the nation, and had 12 in her last 15 games. But she managed just six rebounds and only two at the defensive end. That was a major reason the Spartans grabbed just 15 of the Terrapins’ 33 missed shots.
Maryland visits Wisconsin Thursday night.
Michigan State hosts Rutgers Sunday afternoon.
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