Make that a perfect 4-for-4 start for the No. 3 team in the nation. With star guard Ashley Owusu back from an injury scare, Maryland women’s basketball pounced early and often against the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers on this past Tuesday.
It was shades of March as the Terps scored over 80 points for the fourth consecutive game. With six different players scoring in double figures and each member of the team scoring, Mount St. Mary’s had little chance after the first 10 minutes. Forwards Mimi Collins and Angel Reese led the way for the home team. After just half the game played, Maryland held a 28-point lead.
Maryland went on to secure the 98-57 win, improving it to 4-0 on the season. On Sunday, the Terps have one game remaining before a pivotal top-10 matchup with Baylor.
Here are several takeaways from the matchup with the Mountaineers.
Maryland kept its foot on the gas the whole way.
Maryland women’s basketball started the evening in command on both ends of the floor. Defensively, it held Mount St. Mary’s to a season-low seven points in the first quarter. The Terps more than tripled the Mountaineers’ score on the other end.
“I loved our start,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I loved that first quarter when you talk about holding them to seven points. I thought it was a pretty complete game for us.
Frese’s team also was ruthless on the boards, outrebounding Mount St. Mary’s 51 to 31. Height is one of the many strengths this team possesses, and it showed.
“I love how we’re sharing the basketball,” Frese said. “We did a phenomenal job pounding the glass, when you talk about the rebounding.”
Tuesday’s affair was the team’s fourth game in the past seven days, but the gauntlet has given Frese and her coaching staff a chance to evaluate various players and toy with different defensive sets.
“Just continuing to try to keep improving defensively,” Frese said. “We had a lot of different matchups and rotations in there tonight, trying to work everything through. I thought we’re building it with so many games here.”
A few Terps found themselves in double figures.
It was a game of doubles for the No. 3 team in the country. Guard Katie Benzan hit double-figures for the 85th time in her career and the third time this year, knocking down four-of-six looks from deep. The three-point sharpshooter also knocked down her 100th three with Maryland.
“Obviously, last game, I didn’t shoot as well as I hoped,” Benzan said of her performance against James Madison. “But this game was a little bit different. And that’s just a testament to my teammates finding me when I’m open and tonight they fell.”
Forward Chloe Bibby tallied 10-plus points for the 54th time in her career and second this season. Collins scored in double-figures for the 25th time ever and third this year. Owusu picked up her 46th career game in double-figures. It was her fourth this season. And freshman Shyanne Sellers recorded her first-career double-double. It also was the third time the Ohio native reached double figures this year.
And then there was Angel Reese. After an injury-plagued debut season in College Park, the former top recruit has been Maryland’s best player this season. She has scored no fewer than 12 points this season and has three double-doubles.
Against Mount St. Mary’s, Reese became the first Terp with double-doubles in three consecutive games since Brionna Jones had four straight at the tail end of her final season in 2016-17.
She also became the first Terp with three consecutive games of 10 or more rebounds since Stephanie Jones did it during the COVID-shorted season.
“I was just letting the game come to me, as usual,” Reese said. “Just trying to let my rebounds get to my points. My teammates are feeding me. I just got to make sure when we play games like this I always go as hard as I can.”
After one more matchup on Thursday, Maryland gets to take a crack at Baylor.
Despite averaging 91 points through four games, Frese still isn’t satisfied with her team's performances.
“I still wasn’t pleased [against Mount St. Mary’s],” she said. “So that timeout I call at the end and not in the fourth quarter. I mean, those are effort and standards. So we’re looking for perfection.”
Maryland striving for perfection is bad news for the Bears, a top-10 team will come to College Park on Sunday, and the Terps’ start to the season has given the players and coaching staff a chance to work out any inconsistencies in the lineup.
“We are looking for perfection in everything that we’re doing,” Frese said. “The bar is continuing to just worry about us; it’s not about the score. It’s about us and our standard.”
The start of the year has been about cultivating productive tendencies and learning as a unit. The matchup with Baylor will serve as a litmus test for where Maryland wants to be come April.
“For us, it’s just, you know, continue to have great habits,” Frese said, “defensively communication-wise, just transition all the attention in details is really important for us that we build that consistency of our standard.”