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No. 11 Maryland women’s basketball breezes past Wisconsin, 77-64

Shyanne Sellers and Diamond Miller combined for 40 points.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
Twitter @TerpsWBB

After trading the opening points of the game, No. 11 Maryland women’s basketball looked to create space between it and Wisconsin early.

Maryland sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers — standing on the right wing — wasted little motion as she drained a 3-pointer to give the Terps a 5-2 lead. The star sophomore continued her hot start by sinking two additional shots from beyond the arc to give the Terps a 13-4 lead early in the first quarter.

Sellers’ 13 first-quarter points gave Maryland a lead it never surrendered, as it cruised to a 77-64 victory over Wisconsin on Thursday at Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Terps had four players in double figures, led by Sellers’ game-high 21 points.

Maryland moved to 6-2 in Big Ten play and remained within the top four in the conference.

After not scoring for the opening two minutes, Maryland eventually broke its cold streak. Sellers used a screen and roll to knock down a mid-range jump shot for the opening points of the contest.

Following a layup by Wisconsin guard Julie Pospisilova, the Terps pushed the tempo as they looked to exploit their counterparts’ transition defense.

It wasn’t just Maryland’s offense that took center stage, as its defense’s activity forced seven turnovers in the opening period. Maryland had active hands and was aggressive in the passing lane to force Wisconsin turnovers.

One of the bright spots in the opening quarter was an offensive sighting from versatile senior forward Faith Masonius. Midway through the first, Masonius drilled her fourth 3-pointer of the season to start a 6-0 run from the Terps.

“It’s definitely nice when you see shots going into the hoop. Definitely gives you that confidence to keep shooting and keep going, but I’m just playing basketball taking the shots, but I’m open I gotta shoot it and knock them down. So just staying consistent with that and trying to keep making them,” Masonius said.

The Terps had a 28-15 advantage after the opening 10 minutes.

The second quarter began with the Terps being forced to exercise patience, as Wisconsin shifted to a half-court 2-3 zone.

With a 35-21 lead and less than five minutes until intermission, Maryland looked to penetrate the gaps of Wisconsin’s defense to find a hole for a scoring opportunity. Senior guard Elisa Pinzan used a quick dribble to convert a mid-range jumpshot to extend the Terps’ advantage by two points.

Right after, Wisconsin guard Ronnie Porter began to catch fire, and the Badgers looked to trim their deficit. Porter scored five points on their next two possessions to cut Maryland’s lead to 37-26.

The Terps closed the first half strong by moving the ball with precision. Senior guard Abby Meyers penetrated the zone defense before finding reserve senior guard Brinae Alexander in the corner.

Alexander — second in the Big Ten with a 49.7% 3-point percentage — sunk a 3-pointer to give Maryland a 42-27 lead heading to the locker room.

Masonius’ success on the offensive end carried over to the second half. With under 60 seconds expired in the third quarter, Masonius didn’t hesitate to drain her second jump shot of the game.

A few minutes later, the New Jersey native’s aggressiveness on the glass led to a forced foul after securing an offensive rebound. She calmly went to the charity stripe and made two free throws to stretch the Terps’ advantage to 48-29.

After an uncharacteristic slow start for Maryland senior guard Diamond Miller, the All-Big Ten honoree began to take over offensively. Miller scored nine points in the third quarter, as the Terps took a 61-46 lead into the final quarter of play.

With a sizable lead, the fourth quarter saw Maryland take its foot off the gas. Wisconsin drained four shots from deep in the final quarter, although the game was never in danger.

Maryland executed down the stretch to hold on for its seventh victory away from XFINITY Center. The Terps will travel to Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday for a 2 p.m. date with Nebraska, marking the end of the Terps’ two-game road trip.

Three things to know

1. Shyanne Sellers’ hot start led Maryland to victory. Sellers has taken on more on-ball responsibilities in her second season for the Terps and she has shown flashes of electricity on the offensive end. Sellers looked aggressive from the onset of the game — she scored 17 points in the first half — and had 21 points in total. The Ohio native was 3-of-4 from behind the arc and added her routine defensive skills to her stations. She contributed three steals, one block and seven rebounds to her stat line in another impressive performance.

2. The Terps’ performance from 3-point range made an impact. Coming into Thursday night’s contest, Maryland ranked second in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting, nailing 37.5% of its attempts. Maryland’s roster has several shooters able to make shots from deep, and the Terps drained eight 3-pointers as a team Thursday, Sellers draining three of her own. Miller and Alexander made a combined four shots from deep to add to their showing versus Wisconsin.

3. Maryland will look to sweep its two-game road-trip on Sunday. The Terps (15-4) collected their first victory of a two-game road trip Thursday night. Maryland will take on Nebraska on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Cornhuskers handed the Terps their first conference loss of the season at XFINITY Center on Dec. 4. Maryland will look to avenge its early-season loss with a few ranked matchups on the horizon.