With under eight minutes left in the second quarter, No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball was looking for a spark as senior guard Katie Benzan drove left into the paint and sunk an underhand layup to capture a one-point lead.
James Madison looked to answer, but Benzan was there to steal away the ball. Although she was scoreless in the first quarter, Benzan’s play opened up an 11-0 run that gave the Terps some much-needed momentum early in the second period.
The Terps ended the first quarter down by three. Determined to come back strong after a close call against Rutgers on Monday and a slow start against the Dukes, the Terps started off the second hot to take the lead en route to a dominant 101-59 victory.
“I thought JMU came out with a great first punch and we expected that...” head coach Brenda Frese said. “But I loved our response, I thought it was terrific, and just some really great moments the team was able to share.”
A little more than six minutes into the game, Maryland had made just one of seven field goals, until sophomore guard Ashley Owusu gave the Terps the momentum they needed to snap the drought. Redshirt junior guard Channise Lewis passed the ball to Owusu at the top of the key, and the sophomore drove left to the basket, sunk her shot and drew the foul to put the Terps up, 8-5.
Owusu finished the game with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists.
But the Terps once again found themselves in trouble as they went on to miss seven straight field goals. This time, the drought was snapped by sophomore guard Faith Masonius. Although Masonious went scoreless against the Scarlett Knights, she got open down low, and with the help of a perfect feed from redshirt sophomore guard Mimi Collins, was able to put up two for the Terps.
Masonius finished the game with 14 points and 12 rebounds. In the first start of her collegiate career after putting up a career-high 22 points against Rutgers, Collins delivered again Saturday, finishing the game with 14 points and 11 boards.
“Angel [Reese] is such a great rebounder and a great scorer. So understanding that we have to take up most of the rebounding that we did,” Collins said. “And I think that me and Faith did a successful job doing that.”
But in the first period, James Madison could not be stopped. The Dukes made six of their last eight field goals to end the quarter, while the Terps were only successful on two of their last 10. The first quarter ended with James Madison up 19-16 and an uncharacteristic zero points for Benzan and sophomore guard Diamond Miller.
However, to kick off the second period, the momentum shifted as Owusu got the ball down the court and passed it to senior forward Chloe Bibby for the and-one layup to tie the game at 19-19.
“We were just really focused on winning the next three [quarters] and just coming back because it’s within ourselves that we really got to focus on and come out strong,” said Masonius.
Bibby had a strong performance for the Terps, recording her second consecutive double-double of the season. She finished the day with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
Maryland outscored James Madison 29-8 in the second quarter. Headed into the locker room, Bibby led the team with 15 points followed by Owusu who had 11 points and led the team with 6 assists. All active players on Frese’s roster made an appearance in the first half, including redshirt freshman guard Zoe Young in her career debut with the Terps.
Young recorded her first basket in the fourth quarter, as Owusu dribbled the ball down the court and gave her a wide-open look in transition to sink the layup.
“It’s amazing because [Young] has been working so hard behind the scenes with rehab... seeing her with a smile on her face, it’s just everything,” said Collins. “We’ve just been hyping her up and practice and everything else and pushing her, and she got her opportunity.”
Miller remained scoreless until about a minute and a half into the third quarter, when she hit her first layup of the day. Less than thirty seconds later, Benzan missed a three, Miller snatched the rebound and put it right back up for back-to-back scores for the Terps.
Maryland then went on a 15-2 run in over five minutes, which included an assist from Bibby to Benzan for a three. Benzan finished the game with 3 successful shots from behind the arc.
Six of Frese’s players — Collins, Benzan, Owusu, Bibby, Masonius, Miller — had double-digit point performances. Owusu led the team with 19 points. Bibby, Collins and Masonius all recorded double-doubles; Bibby finished the game with 17 points and 10 boards, Collins with 14 points and 11 boards, and Masonius with 12 points and 10 boards.
“Everybody knows they have to come ready to play and I think we’ve been able to build that in practice and within the games,” said Frese.
Three Things To Know
1. Maryland started slow but came back strong to start the second period. Maryland went back and forth with James Madison for most of the first quarter and it looked like this game would continue to stay close. With two seconds to go in the first quarter of the game, James Madison made a second-chance jumper off an offensive rebound to extend its lead to three points. However, Benzan’s layup early in the second quarter gave the Terps some much-needed momentum and allowed them to take and grow their lead. In the last three quarters of the game, the Terps outscored the Dukes 101-59.
2. Diamond Miller was scoreless in the first half but that changed quickly. After co-leading the team in scoring with 90 points the season, the sophomore guard had two personal fouls in the first half and zero points.
“We challenged her at halftime and I thought she understood trying to be patient,” Frese said. “But I thought she had a terrific response, you know, out of the foul trouble to not let it impact her second half.”
However, it did not take long for her to show how she averages 18 points a game. Two minutes into the second half, Miller sunk back-to-back layups and finished the day with 18 points that all came in the second half.
3. The Terps played better defense than the Dukes. Maryland outrebounded James Madison 54-36 and Bibby, Collins and Masonius played a huge role in that success. Bibby had 10 boards, Collins had 11 and Masonius led with 12. The Terps also only committed 12 personal fouls compared to the Dukes’ 17. Maryland continued to play strong defense throughout the game scoring 15 points off turnovers.