Maryland women’s basketball fell to two games below .500 in conference play Wednesday night when it lost at home to No. 10 Indiana, 87-73.
Here are three takeaways from the contest.
Indiana’s quick start made a comeback impossible
Ultimately, the Hoosiers’ rapid start Wednesday proved too insurmountable for the Terps to overcome, even with a strong second-half effort.
While the Hoosiers’ best player is undoubtedly All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes, they didn’t emphasize feeding her the ball early on. Instead, it was their perimeter shooting that shined.
The second-best 3-point shooting team in the conference made four of its first seven triples and never looked back, scoring 52 points in the opening 20 minutes. By halftime, the lead was up to 22 points.
Maryland did all it could in the second half, highlighted by a 12-2 run to start the third quarter and a stretch in which they went 6-for-6 on field goals. But the best it could cut Indiana’s lead to was just seven points.
Masonius connected the offense in the second half
Maryland’s offensive scheme and ability understandably took a hit early with star guard Shyanne Sellers sidelined. It scored just 30 points in the first half, but discovered an attacking identity in the latter period.
The Terps didn’t turn to sophomore guard Bri McDaniel, who has excelled this season. They didn’t even rely on Jakia Brown-Turner to handle the ball, either, although she was one of the few bright spots on the roster Wednesday evening.
Rather, Maryland turned to its longest tenured player, and one that has gracefully accepted a bench role this season: Faith Masonius.
Masonius didn’t exactly stuff the stat sheet, posting 11 points, five rebounds and two assists, but she was a connecting piece on the floor, often tasked with being the primary ball handler.
Masonius started the second half in place of Allie Kubek, who had three personal fouls at the time. Masonius’ leadership and poise — demonstrated by her constant communication during huddles and after fouls — was evident. But more than that, her presence provided a much-needed spark.
Masonius may not garner as much attention as she did last year, not seeing nearly as much time on the court and having started just five games this season. However, she has been a consistently positive presence and deserves to be recognized for stepping up when needed.
“She’s one of the one of the hardest working people,” said McDaniel. “She’s just relentless. She’s very aware, she’s ready to put her body on the line.”
Scalia and Holmes were dominant
The Hoosiers’ two best players delivered in a big way Wednesday evening. It was Sara Scalia who started it for the visitors, and Holmes who finished it.
The Terps’ strategy on the defense end was clear. Without Sellers, they were essentially forced to field a lineup of bigger, not as swift forwards. Thus, player-to-player defense was hardly employed.
From the sideline, head coach Brenda Frese consistently signaled to her players the number “one” with her finger, which called for a zone defense that packed the interior and wings, but left the top of the key largely open.
This is where Scalia did a lot of her damage, getting two quick catch-and-shoot threes in the first quarter and going 4-for-8 from distance overall.
“We were playing the triangle and two, so we’re actually in our zone [defense],” Frese said. “We were trying to pick our poison with that and then be able to double with Holmes, but it was too much.”
The Terps adjusted to this barrage of deep shots as the game drew on by initiating a press. But Indiana merely turned to Holmes, who heated up in the paint and kept the Hoosiers comfortably in front of the Terps as they attempted to mount a comeback. She had 23 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes.