Midway through the fourth quarter, No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball and No. 6 Indiana were deadlocked at 50.
A little over a minute later, Maryland trailed 55-50. With four minutes to go, Indiana senior guard Grace Berger lulled her defender to sleep before draining a mid-range jumper to cap off a 7-0 run. The Hoosiers wouldn’t look back, as they executed down the stretch to come away with a 68-61 victory.
The Terps — now 13-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play — dropped their first true road game of the season and will quickly turn the page with Rutgers coming to the XFINITY Center on Jan. 15.
Here are three takeaways from Thursday night’s top-10 showdown.
Diamond Miller started slow but finished strong.
When Maryland is on the schedule, the opposing team typically devises a detail-oriented plan to limit senior guard Diamond Miller. The New Jersey native is fourth in the Big Ten with 18.8 points per game and has shown why many consider her a likely lottery pick in this year’s WNBA Draft.
In the first half of action, Miller struggled to generate any offense, as she only recorded three points on 1-for-4 shooting from the field.
The star guard missed routine layups, turned the ball over at an alarming rate and struggled to establish a rhythm. While she credits Indiana’s defense for its performance, Miller knows she must look to establish her offense early and often in a battle like Thursday’s.
“They played great defense, they were sagging off, and it took a minute for me to adjust to that. I just gotta come better and be more focused,” Miller said.
The second half was a different story for the 6-foot-3 guard, as she began to find her footing in the scoring department.
Miller scored 16 points in the second half, with 12 coming in the fourth quarter of a nip and tuck contest. Her aggressiveness allowed her to get to the free-throw line, as she finished 7-for-8 in the final 20 minutes of play.
Despite Miller’s slow start, Maryland remained in the game, which was tied with under five minutes remaining.
“I started too late and I need to show up for these type of games, but at the end of the day we’ve got to learn from this one and this one hurts [to lose],” Miller said
With a player as talented as Miller, she knows that her ability to score early is paramount to defeat some of the top teams in the conference. Miller and the Terps will hope to use this game as a learning tool to propel them to key victories during the remainder of the season.
Indiana’s balanced scoring created an array of problems for Maryland.
Indiana displayed why it is one of the best teams in the nation, as it had four players score in double figures.
If a team receives multiple contributions, it only increases the difficulty of the opposing defense honing in on one particular player.
“They have so many weapons and you look at the four players in double figures,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “You have Mackenzie Holmes that you’re trying to guard and All-American Grace Berger so you’re kind of picking and choosing who you can guard. Credit to them, they made some big plays.”
Maryland’s roster doesn’t feature the size of previous teams, so it’s expected that opposing teams will try to exploit its lack of interior presence.
Coming into the game, Maryland knew it would have to contend with Indiana junior forward Mackenzie Holmes. The star forward is second in the Big Ten with 20.8 points per game and ranks fourth with 8.1 rebounds per contest. Holmes found success on drives to the basket and used quick post moves to evade Maryland’s double team.
With under 30 seconds expired in the second quarter, Indiana found Holmes with a noticeable size advantage on the block. As the Terps sent an extra defender, Holmes used a reverse pivot to create separation for an easy layup.
Holmes’ 15 points marked one of four players in double figures for Indiana.
Indiana junior guard Sydney Parrish also made the Terps pay all night, as she drained three of her seven 3-pointers for a total of 18 points. Parrish found holes in the Terps’ 2-3 zone defense and her teammates did an outstanding job of delivering the ball in her shooting pocket.
“[Sydney] played really well and shot the ball extremely well. When a person is hot like that, we have to do a better job of not letting them continue to get hot,” Miller said.
Parrish wasn’t the only Hoosier to cash in from behind the arc. Freshman guard Yarden Garzon totaled 11 points, as she made 3-of-5 shots from distance.
Indiana senior guard Grace Berger also chipped in 11 points and made crucial plays in the final quarter to close out the Terps.
Maryland struggled to stifle Indiana’s diverse offensive attack and must improve on defending multiple weapons with several notable matchups remaining on the schedule.
Maryland struggled mightily to make shots.
The Terps were 6-0 on the road heading into Assembly Hall on Thursday night. In its undefeated streak, Maryland had won games in multiple ways.
In its loss to Indiana, Maryland recorded a troubling 37% from the field, its lowest output in a game away from XFINITY Center. Maryland couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean, as it went 21-for-57 from the field and 6-for-18 from 3-point range.
Some of Maryland’s key contributors struggled to consistently make shots, as they missed several routine layups and open jump shots.
Senior guard Abby Meyers experienced great difficulty making shots — she only had nine points — shooting 3-for-12 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Meyers never seemed to be comfortable, as Indiana ran her off the 3-point line a few times and contested any shot that she attempted.
Sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers’ recent hot streak abruptly ended Thursday, as she recorded nine points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field. Sellers was greeted by Indiana defenders whenever she drove to the basket, making it challenging for the guard to score at the rim.
Despite missing an abundance of shots, Maryland remained in the game going into the final few minutes of play. The Terps fought back from deficits of 10 or more, showing they are capable of overcoming a sizable deficit against a top-10 team.