Near the end of the first quarter, forward/guard Angel Reese was a standout player for No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball.
Reese had two deflections, the second of which led to a Maryland fast break and a putback two, a bucket that got the fans at Xfinity Center on their feet.
Reese had quite a few highlight plays on Friday night for Maryland en route to a 23-point outing for the sophomore. Backed by Reese’s efforts on both ends of the floor, Maryland was able to run away on the scoreboard against Villanova, capturing an 88-67 win in College Park.
Reese started the scoring for Maryland Friday night with an innocuous two, which was the beginning of a strong scoring night for the electric post player.
“I thought they did a great job of sharing the basketball,” Frese said. “No answer, obviously, for Angel inside. I think Angel’s doing a great job of facilitating in there being able to draw fouls and being able to kick out when necessary.”
It took the Terps three minutes to take the lead against challenger Villanova, but the Wildcats had an answer for every Maryland basket.
At the 4:26 mark, Reese left the court clutching her stomach. Resse checked back in at three minutes with her team up one, and her return to the court injected a much-needed shot of energy into the squad. The second-year player from Baltimore had a team-high nine first-quarter points. For everything Reese did in the opening 10 minutes, Maryland held a slim, 21–20, advantage.
In the early stages of the second, junior forward Mimi Collins came up big. Collins dominated the glass, snagging three defensive boards and adding three points. She finished the affair with 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
“We’re like The Three Musketeers in the paint; you can’t stop all of us,” Collins said.
And when the team needed a bucket, junior guard Ashley Owusu stepped up. After a quiet first quarter during which she was held to three points, Maryland’s top playmaker notched four points in 40 seconds to up the lead to nine.
A Bella Runyan three for the Wildcats ended a 10–0 Maryland run that lasted almost four minutes. Brianna Herlihy, who led her side with 16 points and five rebounds, hit another deep shot to cut the deficit to seven, but Owusu went to work in the paint for a slick two in response.
After Siegrist hit a second-chance layup, Maryland head coach Brenda Frese called for a timeout and laid into her team. Frese’s intensity paid dividends as Owusu immediately drove the lane, made the shot and got the foul.
Owusu fed Collins on the right side with the shot clock expiring, and the junior drained a buzzer-beater two. The quarter's final play helped Maryland to a 14-point advantage at the break.
“When I turned on my defense,” Collins said, “it just turned on my offense and just made me keep going. It’s hard to stop all of us.”
A three-and-a-half-minute Villanova scoring drought saw the Terps push the lead to 23. Over that same span, the hosts went on an 11–0 run, capped by a Chloe Bibby three-pointer. The deep shot gave the graduate transfer 1,000 career points.
“It’s just a credit to my teammates that they find me when I’m open,” Bibby said. “It’s just hitting down shots. Everyone does a great job of sharing the ball, so, yeah, great day.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Wildcats when Maryland freshman Shyanne Sellers knocked down a contested three to up the gap to 27.
Known as an offensive juggernaut, Maryland showed it is just as dangerous on the defensive side. In the third quarter, the Terps held their opponents to 12 points, 5-for-15 shooting from the field and 2-for-6 from three. Maryland’s defense held Villanova scoreless for six minutes.
Ahead by 28 going into the final frame, Sellers got room to run and showed why she was a top-25 recruit in the 2021 class. In the fourth, the Ohio native scored seven points as the Terps cruised to win number two, 88–67.
Owusu logged 13 points and four assists in 23 minutes, while Benzan and Sellers both had 12.
Maryland held All-Big East First Team forward Maddy Siegrist to 11 points.
Three things to know
1. Angel Reese had a monster night for Maryland. After exploding for 21 points and 14 rebounds in the Terps’ opening game against Longwood, the sophomore standout went off for 19 points in the first half on 8-for-11 shooting from two and 3-for-3 from the line. Reese had just four points in the second half, but she played only six minutes in the third and did not feature in the fourth.
“I did a really good job finishing, so I just let the game come to me,” Reese said.
2. Terps bested from three. Through 20 minutes, Maryland was 50% from behind the arc, but they attempted just four threes. Villanova, on the other hand, went 7-for-14 from deep. Coincidentally, both sides had 30 looks from the field, with the Terps netting 63% of their shots versus 43% from the Wildcats. The second half wasn’t much better; the hosts finished with just 10 looks from deep to Villanova’s 27.
“We gave up way too many threes,” Frese said. “I think that’s a byproduct of their offense and some of the rotations that we had their lane, but, you know, just an area that I think we can tighten up.”
3. Another lackluster first quarter. After surrendering 21 first-quarter points to Longwood, Maryland again had trouble in the opening frame. This time, they allowed 20 to Villanova. The Terps are too good to let 10 minutes ruin a game, but the opening portion of games one and two seem to have stumped the number four team in the country.