Following a disappointing loss to Michigan State earlier in the week, Maryland women’s basketball bounced back Sunday with a dominant 88-66 victory over Purdue.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Bri McDaniel continued to impress
McDaniel kept her hot run of form going Sunday, scoring a career-high 25 points. She went 8-of-16 from the floor, with four of those makes coming from beyond the arc.
The sophomore guard added five rebounds, seven assists and four steals. She scored 11 points in the third quarter, helping to quell the Boilermaker’s comeback attempt.
“Coach [Frese] always tells me to keep the same energy when I step on the court,” McDaniel said. “I’m our energy piece.”
Originally put into the starting lineup at the end of November after Lavender Briggs got hurt, McDaniel has taken her chance and ran away with it. Even with Briggs back and healthy, McDaniel has given head coach Brenda Frese no reason to send her back to the bench.
“She’s confident... she gives us another ball handler, someone who can get downhill,” said Frese. “Obviously, when she’s shooting the three like she did tonight, [she’s] another weapon.”
The Terps got better as the game went on
When the Boilermakers cut Maryland’s lead to five less than three minutes into the second half, the Terps found another gear. That’s different from earlier in the week against Michigan State when they fell apart in the third quarter after leading by seven at the half.
“I think we were pretty irritated after the Michigan State loss,” Shyanne Sellers said. “I think we used it as motivation for this game.”
By the end of the third quarter, Maryland had restored its lead and were in front by 18.
Frese still wants to see her squad be sharper out of the gate in second halves. “Too many of these teams in the league, that third quarter [will] cost us,” she said.
A potential major injury blow
Maryland’s impressive win might have come at a cost.
In the third quarter, freshman Riley Nelson went down hard out of bounds diving after a loose ball. She was helped directly into the locker room, unable to put any weight on her leg. She did not return.
While the severity of the injury is still unknown, Maryland can ill-afford to be without Nelson, who has found her footing as of late. Plus, the team is already without forward Emma Chardon, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
With the heart of the Big Ten slate looming, depth is increasingly important, and Nelson has shown to be a dynamic scorer at times.