No. 2 Maryland women’s basketball suffered its second straight loss in the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Hoops Championship, falling to No. 7 Stanford, 88-67.
“Obviously, I built this schedule so we would learn a lot about ourselves,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously, this tournament, the adversity we would face. I think the biggest thing I’m disappointed [in] was kind of our lack of competing today.”
Stanford established its control early, leading 22-15 after one quarter. A depleted Maryland squad stuck around with the 2021 national champions for a little, but the Stanford offense was relentless.
Basketball is a game of runs, but Saturday’s runs seemingly only came from Stanford. The Cardinal used a 12-0 run in the middle of a second quarter and ended the first half on a separate 12-0 run to go up 22 points at the break. Stanford held its largest lead at 67-33 about halfway through the first quarter. Maryland had no answer for the Cardinal all day long.
Let’s dive into some takeaways from the Terps’ final game in The Bahamas before they head back to College Park.
Maryland started cold for the second straight game.
The beginning of both games was similar. Graduate student forward/guard Chloe Bibby hit a three to break the ice, giving the Terps a 3-0 lead. Maryland would have the first lead against both Stanford and No. 5 NC State, but slow first quarters ultimately followed.
The Terps scored a respectable 17 points in the first frame against the Cardinal but struggled to make shots. After ten minutes, Maryland was only shooting 35 percent from the field. In addition, it was only 1-of-3 from three and 0-of-2 from the charity stripe in the first 10 minutes.
“I don’t think we came out to compete this whole tournament,” junior guard Ashley Owusu said. “And also just our effort...I think we came out flat against both teams and with top-five, top-10 teams, this is what happens.”
Unfortunately for Maryland, the frigid stretch would carry into the second quarter, making it a miserable offensive first half.
The Terps only made four shots in the second quarter, missing 10 of them. They replicated their 1-for-3 performance from deep in the quarter but were unable to get to the line. Only three Terps had scored by halftime; Bibby had 12 points, junior guard Ashley Owusu had eight and redshirt junior forward Mimi Collins had four.
All of the numbers added up to a 32.4% first-half shooting performance for Maryland, while its counterpart was lighting it up. Stanford shot 47% from the field through 20 minutes, but it impressively drained 46% of its threes. It indeed was not a formula for success for Maryland, but the game also got out of hand due to reasons beyond its control.
The Terps’ depth was already short, but foul trouble led to it taking an even greater hit.
Without graduate student guard Katie Benzan (illness), junior guard Diamond Miller (knee) and junior guard/forward Faith Masonius (illness), Maryland would already be down to a seven-player roster for the second straight game.
Out of those seven players, sophomore guard Taisiya Kozlova and freshman forward Emma Chardon are the only ones available off the bench. Kozlova would only play a few minutes per game normally, but Frese was forced to use her more in the Bahamas. Chardon did not play against NC State until garbage time but was pushed into second-quarter minutes against Stanford.
“I thought Tai Kozlova competed hard for us, but she typically doesn’t play 23 minutes,” Frese said.
It only got worse with just under three minutes to play in the second quarter, as Owusu was charged with an offensive foul, her third of the game. Owusu, clearly frustrated with the call, was quickly hit with a technical foul for her reaction. In college basketball, technical fouls count as personal fouls, so Maryland’s star point guard had four fouls before halftime.
Frese had virtually no choice facing the 20-plus point deficit, inserting Owusu to start the second half. Unfortunately for Maryland, Owusu was not the only Terp dealing with foul trouble.
Sophomore forward/guard Angel Reese also had three fouls by halftime, picking up her third with 42 seconds left in the first half. Like Owusu, Reese had to play to start the half, but she was hit with her fourth foul just over two minutes into the third quarter. Frese quickly substituted Kozlova into the game.
Owusu heated up in the second half, finishing with 29 total points on the day. But, the moving pieces for Maryland made it too difficult to knock off the reigning national champions.
“Ashley’s Batman without Robin right now, when Diamond Miller’s not on the floor, but we don’t know when she’ll be back,” Frese said. “This group’s got to figure out what they’re going to do with who we have that we’re able to play.”
Though it was a nightmare day for Maryland, Stanford was sensational.
The Cardinal featured four double-digit scorers, all of whom scored at least 15 points.
Maryland had no answers for junior guard Hannah Jump, who put up Stephen Curry-esque numbers from three-point range. She finished the day with 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Jump was only one shy of her career-high in three-pointers made, which was eight against Syracuse in her sixth collegiate game on Nov. 29, 2019.
“Gosh, she was stellar,” Frese said of Jump. “I mean seven threes. A byproduct [of Maryland’s perimeter defense and Jump’s performance]. I thought you saw in our [transition defense], just, we lost her a lot...She had a lot of easy looks, she still had to knock them down. But that one was disappointing, just given what we knew and what we went through on the scout to be able to give her so many easy threes.”
On the Maryland side of things, foul trouble was only part of the issue.
Reese had her first down game of the season, only scoring six points and grabbing five boards. The second-year rising star struggled shooting in all facets, going 2-of-13 from the field with multiple missed layups and an inefficient 2-of-6 from the line. Reese fouled out in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, wrapping up her unusual day.
Still, hopes remain high for Reese after putting forth impactful performances against All-Americans NaLyssa Smith (Baylor) and Elissa Cunane (NC State).
The Terps finished the day shooting 30.9% overall. Realistically, Saturday’s performance was likely an off day and not a reflection of Maryland’s offense. Coming into the game, the Terps were shooting 45.8% from the field and 35.3% from three-point range.
When Masonius and especially Benzan return from their illnesses, it should be a big boost to Maryland’s shooting percentages. If Miller can work her way back to 100%, the Maryland offense should be the full-blown wagon it was last season.
“We don’t just throw away the tape where you can learn the championship habits of Stanford,” Frese said.