No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball wrapped up its season-opening homestand with an 88-67 win over Villanova to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Wildcats stuck around in the early going because of a strong shooting performance, shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. However, it was not long before the Terps pulled away, outscoring Villanova 52-25 in the second and third quarters combined.
Maryland had six players in double figures, paced by Angel Reese’s monster night. Redshirt junior forward Mimi Collins also starred, nabbing 17 points and eight rebounds. It was a balanced scoring attack for Maryland, as junior guard Ashley Owusu had 13 points and graduate student guard Katie Benzan had 12 points.
“I liked how we were able to share the basketball on offense,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “And then really work on some things defensively of where we needed to be.”
Let’s take a look at some takeaways before the Terps hit the road to play James Madison on Sunday.
Angel Reese is taking the next step
The sophomore forward/guard was sensational in game one against Longwood. Reese recorded a double-double, setting then-career-highs in both points (21) and rebounds (14), eight of which were offensive boards.
By halftime, Reese had a stat line that some would consider a career game. After 20 minutes, the Baltimore native led all scorers with 19 points on an incredibly efficient 8-of-11 mark from the field. She also had a key steal in the frame, taking it to the hole herself. Reese missed the layup, but graduate student forward/guard Chloe Bibby was there for the putback bucket.
“I just let the game come to me,” Reese said. “I mean my teammates would feed me the ball, I’m doing a great job finishing. So that’s why I couldn’t get that many rebounds today, I did a really good job finishing...whatever works, works.”
Villanova did not have a single consistent player in tonight’s lineup that was taller than 6-foot-1, and Reese took advantage. Reese looks fully engaged after recovering from her foot injury that kept her out for a major chunk of last season and bothered her this summer.
“They had no answer, obviously, for Angel inside,” Frese said.
Reese may not be Maryland’s best or most important player, but she could arguably be the most talented player on its roster. At 6-foot-3, Reese is listed as a forward and a guard for good reason. ESPN’s former No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2020 possesses great versatility, with the ability to create for herself or have her teammates find her in the post.
A play about halfway through the third quarter where she secured the rebound, brought the ball up the court herself and dished it out to Bibby for a three encapsulated the type of night she had. It was a smart play by Reese, demonstrating her playmaking ability rather than risking a charge in the lane.
Reese finished the game with 23 points, going 10-for-15 from the field. She did not dominate the glass but still picked up five rebounds. The only con from Reese’s night was that she was in foul trouble late with four fouls, but the game was well out of reach by that point.
Chloe Bibby scored the 1,000th point of her career
Bibby was never able to get going against Longwood, going 0-for-7 from the field and earning her only two points of the game at the charity stripe.
Though Bibby did not exactly light up the box score tonight, she played a fantastic floor game. Bibby scored 11 points on a 5-for-6 shooting night. The Australian also recorded seven rebounds, four assists and was a +16 in 28 minutes played.
“I thought she was just really aggressive,” Frese said. “I think once she started, kind of, rebounding, you see that she had five offensive boards and had a total of seven, I thought the game kind of just opened up to her.”
The play where she received the pass from Reese and splashed in the three brought her to exactly 1,000 points in her career, a remarkable accomplishment. 382 of those points came at Maryland last year, perhaps making it that much more special to do it in a Maryland uniform.
“I knew I was getting there, but I didn’t know when,” Bibby said. “It’s just a credit to my teammates, that they’re finding me when I’m open...I thought everyone does a great job sharing the ball, and, so yeah, great day.”
She let the game come to her without forcing anything, simply excelling in the Maryland offense. Her great shooting stroke was supported by her 36.1% three-point stat from last season. Bibby is a major offensive piece for this team, and the hundreds of points she adds after 1,000 will be a big boost for Maryland.
Maryland used a 20-0 third-quarter run to take control of the game
Villanova still had a chance to mount a comeback in the opening minutes of the third quarter, trailing 49-37 after graduate student forward Brianna Herlihy’s shot in the paint.
From there, Maryland grabbed control of the game and never relinquished it.
A jumper from Collins started the spurt, and Maryland continued to push the tempo. The Terps’ transition offense was too much for the Wildcats. Bibby’s 1,000th point was a signature moment of the run, but the Maryland firepower on both ends of the floor allowed it to happen.
“With being on a dominant team and having so many great scorers, it just opens up the floor for everybody else, and it’s hard for you to stop all of us,” Collins said.
Freshman guard Shyanne Sellers started to heat up during the run, sinking a three-pointer for her first points about halfway through the quarter. Sellers — who had three steals in her first collegiate game — picked up another one around half court with just under four minutes in the quarter and took it herself for an easy layup.
Sellers’ layup signified the end of Maryland’s 20-0 run, but it was extremely impressive, nonetheless. Maryland held Villanova without a single point for nearly six minutes, proving it can be elite defensively in addition to having the nation’s best scoring offense from a year ago.