Maryland made it clear the Buckeyes have a long way to go to reach the nation’s elite.
The third-ranked Terrapins, who start four players who started for the squad that won the 2006 national championship, wasted little time in building a double-digit lead and finished with a decisive 77-53 victory over the 19th-ranked Buckeyes in College Park before 10,255 fans at the Comcast Center.
Freshman center Jantel Lavender again led the Buckeyes (5-2) in scoring, this time with 16 points, and posted a double-double by adding 14 rebounds.
She could have had an even bigger night if not for a number of misses in the lane, a result of constant harassment from long-armed Terrapin defenders such as Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper.
Lavender made just 7 of 16 shots from the field, although her shooting percentage (43.8) was better than that of her team’s as a whole. The Buckeyes shot just 29.6 percent (21 of 71).
Marscilla Packer struggled for a second consecutive game. The senior Buckeye guard hit 2 of 6 three-pointers and all five of her attempts from inside the arc on her way to a six-point night. That came on the heels of a 3-for-15 shooting performance (including 0 for 7 from three-point range) Sunday at home against Auburn.
On a night her shot was not falling against the Terps, Packer did contribute five assists and four rebounds.
Langhorne led all scorers with 17 points and got support from Marissa Coleman (14 points) and Harper (13) as the unbeaten Terrapins became the first team in the nation to record 10 wins this season.
Maryland also got great contributions from point guard Kristi Toliver, who scored nine points and dished out 11 assists, and reserve forward Jade Perry, who scored nine points off the bench.
The Terrapins established their dominance almost from the start.
Defensively, they pushed the Buckeyes out of what they wanted to do, forcing turnovers and making clean looks at the basket nearly impossible to come by.
At the other end, they seemed to be a step ahead of the visitors at every turn.
By the first media timeout, the Buckeyes were facing a 14-2 deficit.
The Buckeyes got as close as eight later in the first half when Maria Moeller hit the first of her two three-pointers on the night, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes went into the locker room down 39-25 after finding themselves on the wrong end of a six-point swing in the final minutes.
Packer, who did not score in the first half, had a closely guarded three-pointer rim out at one end only to see Ashleigh Newman bury a trey of her own when the Terps went the other way.
Maryland beat a ranked team for the fourth time this season.
The Buckeyes’ loss was part of a dismal night in the inaugural Big Ten-ACC women’s basketball challenge as all four Big Ten teams in action in the event were defeated. No. 22 Florida State downed Indiana 85-78, Virginia trounced Wisconsin 84-60, and Virginia Tech got by Minnesota 68-62.
The ACC improved to 8-2 in the event, which is to conclude Sunday with No. 11 Duke’s trip to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.