In its fifth top-10 matchup of the season, No. 6 Maryland women's basketball suffered a 70-63 overtime road loss to No. 8 Indiana.
Led by sophomore forward/guard Angel Reese, the Terps started the game on an emphatic note. Reese established herself early, scoring 11 first-quarter points. Maryland held a 17-14 lead after the first 10 minutes, but a fallaway shot before the buzzer by Indiana senior guard Grace Berger gave it some momentum heading into the second quarter.
Indiana took control from there, using a 19-12 second-quarter advantage to go into halftime with a four-point lead. It was Maryland playing from behind for the rest of the game, and the result reflected that. The Terps stormed back, using a 10-1 run to force overtime in a game that they were not the better team, but ultimately fell short.
“I thought the better team won today,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought the team that was more experienced, their veteran leadership showed through. I thought they did a tremendous job competing for all 45 minutes.”
Let’s take a look at some takeaways from Maryland’s first game of 2022.
Maryland did not take care of the ball and generated little from three-point range.
It seemed early on that it would be the Terps that dictated the game’s tempo, taking a 17-10 lead with 54 seconds to play in the first quarter. An Indiana deuce and an offensive foul on Reese — already the Terps’ fourth turnover of the game — seemingly changed the tide.
Maryland turned the ball over a whopping seven times in the second quarter, highlighted by a giveaway by junior guard Ashley Owusu, who was being lightly pressed by graduate student guard Nicole Cardaño-Hillary just feet away from Maryland’s basket. Cardaño-Hillary’s steal resulted in a three-point play and the Hoosiers’ first lead of the game.
After 20 minutes of play, the Terps had a total of 11 turnovers. Owusu had five, junior guard Diamond Miller had three and Reese had two. Both of Reese’s turnovers were offensive fouls, the second one being a bit questionable.
The Terps continued to struggle taking care of the ball entering the second half and had more turnovers (16) than field goals made (15) with six and a half minutes to play in regulation. Even with the game going to overtime, things did not end much better. Maryland finished with 21 made shots and 18 turnovers.
“I think they sped us up, took us out of a lot of our actions,” Frese said.
Another area of play that Maryland is probably not thrilled with is its shooting from distance. The Terps shot 36% from the field — which is already disappointing — but only 3-of-13 from deep.
It was known that Indiana’s defense, which only allowed 56.3 points per game coming into Sunday, was a staunch test, but the perimeter could have been something Maryland took advantage of. Indiana allowed nearly 31% of its opponent’s attempts from three-point land to fall, but Maryland could not establish any game from there. Graduate Katie Benzan was 1-of-5 on three-point attempts.
Credit must be given to Indiana, though. The Hoosiers overplayed Maryland often, disrupting its spacing, and the Terps struggled to respond throughout the game.
“When you scout Indiana, that’s what we expected, we just didn’t handle it well,” Frese said. “I thought they did a good job defensively being the tougher team all night long.”
Angel Reese was dominant once again, and Diamond Miller’s impact was felt.
The perception of this season’s Maryland team would not be complete without the play of Miller.
For the majority of the season before late December, Miller was considered day-to-day with knee soreness. She had only played 15 minutes in November, scoring five total points before re-aggravating her injury against Baylor on Nov. 21.
Miller returned against Coppin State on Dec. 21, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. It would be interesting to see how she responded as the caliber of the opponent increased significantly, but she most definitely answered the call.
“Just trying to get back for my teammates, but also listening to my body,” Miller said. “My body felt pretty good today, so I continued to play but just listening to my body and yeah, that’s all I was doing.”
Scoring 17 points on 4-of-11 shooting and an 8-of-10 showing from the charity stripe, Miller was Maryland’s second-leading scorer against Indiana.
“No question,” said Frese on if it will take time for the team to get used to playing with Miller again. “I mean, she’s kind of going through her preseason. When you talk about only a couple weeks of practice and then the break because of Christmas, not having the game against Illinois. So it’s definitely a rhythm thing, it’s impacting your rotations.”
Switching to Reese, there was no doubt she could perform well against top competition, and she did it yet again Sunday.
Reese led Maryland with 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line. She also added 12 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the year.
The Baltimore native has put up major performances against not only all-conference players but All-American caliber players in NaLyssa Smith, Elissa Cunane and Aliyah Boston. Certainly, a performance like that against All-Big Ten junior forward Mackenzie Holmes can be added to that list too. Through 14 games, there is no question that Reese has been Maryland’s most consistent and best player.
“We just got to get back to Maryland basketball,” Reese said. “I mean, they outplayed us in the overtime, and that’s something we got to get back to. So, we’ll work on that in practice, of course... It’s only January, and we’ll see them again, so it’s a learning lesson.”
Outside of Reese, Maryland did not get enough production from its starters.
Owusu was instrumental in Maryland’s run to send the game to overtime, but she struggled for the majority of the day. She finished with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, only dishing out one assist and turning the ball over seven times.
It was an uncharacteristic performance from Maryland’s star junior point guard, and it is safe to say she is in a bit of a rut offensively. Owusu is now only a combined 10-of-41 from the field in her last three games. However, she was not the only Terp to struggle against Indiana.
Redshirt junior forward Mimi Collins, who only played 22 minutes, was held to zero points for the first time this season. Bonafide sharpshooter Katie Benzan was limited to five points and only shot 2-of-7 overall. Like Benzan, graduate student forward/guard Chloe Bibby only scored five points.
Sans Reese, the Maryland starting five scored 20 points combined, shot 26.9% from the field and turned the ball over 10 times.
This is not to say Reese was perfect, but Maryland is going to need more from its usual suspects to knock off top-10 opponents in the future. Luckily, it is only early January. There is a lot of time to clean these things up and avoid these blips, as the panic button should not be pressed just three games into the conference season. However, Maryland may be moving forward without one of its key cogs.
Faith Masonius appeared to suffer a serious non-contact leg injury.
With just over five minutes to play in the third quarter, junior guard/forward Faith Masonius came up with a steal on the defensive end. However, she went down and held her leg.
There did not appear to be any contact on the play. Non-contact leg injuries are potentially dangerous situations, but no further speculation will be added. Masonius checked out of the game at that point and did not return. She finished Sunday with four points, three rebounds and two steals. Maryland’s team account on Twitter immediately expressed its concern for Masonius.
Faith— Maryland Women’s Basketball (@TerpsWBB) January 2, 2022
If Masonius is out for an extended period, it is a massive loss for the Terps. She is perhaps the team’s best situational defender and makes incredibly smart plays for herself and her teammates on the offensive end of the floor.
Just when the Terps reached 100% health, another scare occurred. Masonius’ status is still unclear and updates will be provided upon being learned.
“The status of Faith will also impact this team,” Frese said. “... You’re constantly kind of in a state of flux that we’re trying to kind of round this thing out so we can get into some kind of pattern and rhythm within the team.”