Prior to the Maryland women's basketball team's marquee matchup against No. 12 Ohio State on Monday, Xfinity Center fans shouted and waved red glow sticks as the No. 14 Terps were introduced, creating an atmosphere unmatched by any other game this season.
Shortly after the opening tip, guard Eleanna Christinaki brought the energy up another level.
The Florida transfer, starting only her second game this season, scored Maryland's first eight points, notched 21 in the first half and finished with 26, helping the Terps knock off the Buckeyes, 99-69.
Christinaki became eligible to play on Dec. 20, and she dropped 32 points in her debut against Coppin State. Since then, she's crossed the 10-point threshold twice in six tries. On Monday, she had 11 in less than six minutes.
Once Christinaki got comfortable, Maryland dominated the Buckeyes.
"Ohio State is showing that they're a first quarter team," coach Brenda Frese said. "They really want to punch early and we were prepared for that. From the jump, we were confident, we were poised and we were ready to make plays."
Her outburst to open the contest set the tone for the remainder of the night, with the Terps (17-3, 6-1 Big Ten) constantly looking to her on the offensive end. But even when she went cold, Maryland's offense overpowered the Buckeyes.
Guard Kaila Charles led the Terps with a career-high 32 points, while forwards Stephanie Jones and Brianna Fraser scored 14 and 12 points, respectively. Guard Kristen Confroy knocked down three 3-pointers.
Maryland shot 54.9 percent from the field and held the Buckeyes (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten), who boasted the nation's third-best scoring offense entering the contest, to 39.2 percent from the field.
"We did a good job playing team defense," Charles said. "We knew it was going to be a collective effort and we executed it very well."
Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell averages 25.3 points per game and is nearly the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer. The Terps kept Mitchell quiet by her standards, as she scored just 15 points.
Charles was tasked with guarding Mitchell and kept her under wraps for most of the game. Mitchell didn't score until nearly nine minutes into the contest, while the rest of the Buckeyes weren't able to pick up the slack.
"We were out-coached, out-played, out-toughed, out-hustled, out-everything," Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. "They did a great job and we were awful."
Twenty-seven seconds into the fourth quarter, following a Christinaki 3-pointer, Fraser picked off a Buckeye pass and sprinted the length of the floor, finishing with a contested layup to encompass the urgency Maryland showed throughout the contest.
The score forced a flustered Ohio State to call a timeout as Christinaki, Fraser and the rest of the Terps jumped around in celebration on the floor, typifying the mood of the evening.
After taking a 29-19 lead 40 seconds into the second quarter, the Terps never led by fewer than 10 points the rest of the way to earn their first win over Ohio State in nearly three years.
Frese said it was Maryland's most complete performance of the season.
"We talked about, all year, how important our chemistry was going to be, doing the little things," Frese said. "I thought they were on full display tonight on every end."