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Three takeaways from No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball’s win over Minnesota

Maryland’s top forwards excelled and Ashley Owusu put in another strong effort.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a road conference clash with the Minnesota Gophers.

Maryland graduate guard/forward Chloe Bibby recorded a season-high 23 points, while also collecting six rebounds en route to Maryland’s 87-73 victory. Five different Terps were in double figures and Maryland scored 22 points off of Minnesota turnovers.

The win was the Terps’ 12th victory of the season and they are now 4-1 in conference play. Maryland’s next game will come on Jan. 16 against No. 9 Michigan in College Park.

Here are three takeaways from the Terps’ win over the Golden Gophers.

Angel Reese is one of the most versatile players in the country.

Maryland forward/guard Angel Reese only scored four points in the first half but continued to contribute in other ways, such as playing outstanding defense and snagging rebounds for her team. With four minutes and 15 seconds left in the first quarter, the sophomore displayed why she is one of the best players in the country on both ends of the floor.

Reese’s length helped her almost intercept a pass from Minnesota. Golden Gophers forward Kadiatou Sissoko retrieved the pass and tried to drive past Reese, whose agility was too much for Sissoko. Sissoko attempted to wire the ball across the floor, but Reese’s active hands were able to deflect the ball.

The ability to control the players she defended from moving the ball and staying in front of smaller guards is an underrated quality of Reese’s dynamic talent. Reese, who stands at 6-foot-3, finished with three steals. The Baltimore native knows that she can contribute to her team in a multitude of ways, without scoring the basketball.

“Yeah, just doing whatever it takes to help my teammates, just rebounding and just boxing out and trying to get steals. And then I got a couple of steals in the first half. Just doing whatever it takes to help my team,” Reese said.

The guard/forward’s offense would not stay quiet for long, though, and she eventually reached her typical double-double numbers. In the second half, Reese scored 15 points. Her teammates looked determined to get the ball to No. 10.

“In the second half, it just came down to me. And they were getting it to me a lot and I was finishing,” Reese said. “So just doing whatever it takes to help the team.”

It is obvious that Reese is immensely talented on the offensive end of the floor, but to have the desire to want to play intense defense and contribute to your team in multiple ways is what separates the good players from the great ones.

Reese’s ability to impact the game in a few different ways should propel the Terps going down the final stretch of the regular season.

Reese was a big catalyst in the win over Minnesota overall, collecting the second-most points on her team with 19 on 9-for-11 shooting. Her 10 rebounds gave her yet another double-double and she was the only Terp to have at least seven rebounds.

Chloe Bibby’s contributions led to a great performance versus Minnesota.

While Reese might be the Terps’ most talented forward, forward/guard Chloe Bibby isn’t too far off. Bibby played an outstanding game for the Terps against Minnesota and she led all scorers with 23 points on a very efficient 9-for-12 shooting clip.

The Australian native did a great job of spacing the floor and knocking down the pick and pop with junior guard Ashley Owusu.

“It really just opens up the floor because we said okay, I can pick and pop and it gives you know Ash [Ashley Owusu or Diamond [Miller] or whoever’s coming off that on ball screen gives them a lot of room to work. It makes the defense take on a lot and they kinda got to pick their poison,” Bibby said about executing the pick and pop play.

Bibby’s silky smooth jump shot made Minnesota pay when they overplayed Owusu’s driving lanes to the basket.

“And a lot of the time they want to focus on Ashley... and you know it leaves me wide open for the kick out,” Bibby said.

Her effectiveness was outstanding from the field and made all of her four free throws. Bibby’s 23 points were a season-high, breaking her previous high of 19 which came all the way back against James Madison on Nov. 14.

Ashley Owusu is one of the craftiest guards in the country

Maryland guard Ashley Owusu is one of the most talented guards in the country, with her extraordinary court vision to find her teammates or unique ability to rock defenders to sleep with her ultra-tight handle on the ball.

With under three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Owusu remained aggressive and determined to get a bucket for the Terps.

Owusu used a hard dribble to size up her defender, while her defender’s shoulders were even, and she made her defender lean with a vicious in-and-out crossover. Once she felt her defender lean to the right, Owusu drove directly past her and scored a right-handed layup to give the Terps the 59-50 lead.

The talented guard continued to look for her shot to extend the Maryland lead in the final frame as well. Owusu used a nasty jab step to create space from her defender and drained a nice 15-foot jump shot from the left wing to help Maryland on a late fourth-quarter run to close the door on the Golden Gophers.

Owusu may have shot just 5-for-13 from the floor, but her team-high eight assists and six rebounds, along with zero turnovers, ultimately aided Maryland in the win.

In the Terps’ past two victories, she has scored 35 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and dished out 13 assists. The guard has only recorded one turnover in the Terps’ two-game winning streak while shooting 50% from the field.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese will rely on the guard’s playmaking ability to grind out victories within the Big Ten moving forward.