After a back and forth affair early, Arkansas guard Amber Ramirez drained a triple to break a tie three minutes in. However, that lead would be short-lived as Maryland senior guard Katie Benzan quickly answered with a three of her own. Benzan’s make from deep started up a 10-0 run for the Terps, which also included a layup from Diamond Miller and a layup and three-point shot from senior forward Chloe Bibby.
The Razorbacks snapped the run with a layup of their own but Benzan answered less than 15 seconds later with her second three of the day starting a 16-2 run for the Terps.
No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball came onto the court ready to fight against No. 14 Arkansas in the 115-96 victory, determined to showcase their talent in its final matchup of the Gulf Coast Showcase after falling to No. 24 Missouri State on Saturday.
“It was a terrific response by our team today. We were disappointed in our play yesterday and I thought it said a lot about this team and our pride to be able to come out,” said Head Coach Brenda Frese. “I mean, they were locked in.”
The Terps did it in absolutely dominant fashion, scoring the most-ever points against a ranked opponent in program history. Previously, the most Maryland had scored against a ranked opponent was 105 against No. 14 Virginia on Feb. 15, 1989. At the time, the Terps were ranked No. 6.
“When you talk about beating a record like that from so long ago, I think it speaks volumes of what this team is capable of,” Frese said.
Maryland also set a Gulf Coast Showcase record by scoring 115 points against Arkansas. The previous record was held by DePaul, which put up 108 points against Syracuse in 2016. Also, this is the most points Maryland has scored against a Power Five opponent since beating Wake Forest 117-53 on January 23, 1980.
The Terps came out strong, scoring first as sophomore guard Ashley Owusu made a layup in the first 20 seconds of the game. Arkansas answered quickly, and for the first few minutes, the Terps and Razorbacks went back and forth until Benzan sank her first three of the game, which sparked the Maryland run.
At the end of the first quarter, Maryland held a double-digit lead over Arkansas. Bibby, Miller and Benzan made up 21 of 27 Maryland points scored in the first.
“We were locked and ready to go,” said Bibby. “The energy was just phenomenal, on the bench, on the court. We just played together tonight and it was a lot of fun.”
After two games one rebound shy of a double-double, Reese came into this came with an extra spark. She started off scoring the first seven points for the Terps in the second quarter after having only one layup in the first.
Reese finished the game with 16 points and 8 boards, though she fouled out in the final minute.
Maryland held Arkansas to just two points in the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter to extend their lead to 38-22 and force a Razorbacks’ timeout.
Toward the end of the half, Arkansas aimed to tighten the lead to less than 10 as the teams went basket-for-basket, but Maryland’s dominant shooting could not be stopped. The Terps made six of their last eight field goals to end the half, while Arkansas only sank one of their last eight.
The Terps had a dominant first half, scoring 21 field goals, eight of which were triples from Bibby, Benzan, Channise Lewis and Taisiya Kozlova. All nine healthy players on Brenda Frese’s roster got into the game and in the first half alone, all nine scored a minimum of two points.
“You can see on our team every single player can score a basketball so the thing for us is just sharing the basketball,” Frese said. “We don’t have to make tough plays or take tough shots and you can see how dangerous we are when we’re not selfish.”
Maryland went into the locker room up by 11 Saturday against Missouri State and Sunday they made a statement by leading Arkansas by 20 at the end of the half. This time though, head coach Brenda Frese’s squad didn’t let up its advantage.
In the first three and a half minutes of the second half, Arkansas scored nine points, but Maryland could not be caught as it tallied 17 points, including two triples from Benzan in the opening minutes of the period. Miller and Bibby each had another three, while Reese went 1-of-2 on her free throws and made a layup.
Arkansas tried to close the lead and made 5-of-6 field goals as the period winded down. However, at the same time, Maryland went on a 8-0 run in 30 seconds to continue to build its lead.
“We knew coming into this game it was going to be a battle,” Benzan said. “We had to put in the overall work ethic so we could contain them and end up with the overall W.”
Each of Maryland’s starters- Miller, Reese, Benzan, Owusu and Bibby- scored double digit points, with Benzan leading the way with 28 points and a program record-tying eight threes. Two Terps recorded double-doubles on the day. Bibby finished the game with 23 points and 12 boards and Miller with with 19 points and 10 boards.
Three Things to Know
1. Maryland delivered on second chance points. To end the first half Maryland had 14 second chance points and 10 offensive rebounds. The Terps just about doubled those numbers in the second half finishing the game with 27 second chance points and 21 offensive rebounds.
2. Maryland shot it well from deep. Maryland shot 51.6% on three-point attempts Sunday. Benzan and Bibby combined for a total of 13, as the duo made up for 81.3% of the team’s triples.
“It just opens up the offense because the way [Benzan and Bibby] shoot the three it can really help us,” Frese said. “I thought it allowed Angel to go to work today and have an inside-outside game and allowed Ashley and Diamond to be able to really attack off the bounce.”
3. The Terps continue to struggle with fouls. Despite their dominant performance, Maryland still experienced foul trouble with Miller, Collins and Reese each committing four. Over the course of the weekend, Frese’s team had 75 personal fouls. With under a minute left to play, Reese fouled out of the game.