After senior forward Chloe Bibby missed shot from deep early in the first quarter against Towson, sophomore guard Diamond Miller pulled in the rebound and put it right back up for two.
Less than ten seconds later, sophomore guard Ashley Owusu stole the ball off a bad pass from Towson and passed it to Miller, who scored a fast break layup with ease. After going shot-for-shot with Towson, Miller’s consecutive layups gave Maryland the momentum it needed to go on a 12-1 run that lasted over four minutes.
Fresh off a record-breaking performance against Arkansas, No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball came out of the gate strong as it built on that momentum for a 112-78 trouncing of Towson.
“We picked up where we left off against Arkansas offensively,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we were in a great rhythm on the offensive end and started really, really strong in the first quarter.”
However, less than three minutes into the game, freshman forward Angel Reese appeared to be experiencing pain in her right foot. Reese committed a foul to stop the game and headed to the sideline to get checked out. She went to the locker room for further evaluation in the first quarter on crutches and did not return the rest of the game.
Even with Reese, a key defensive player, in the locker room, Maryland held the Tigers without a single field goal for over three and a half minutes. Later in the quarter, the Terps forced their opponent into another drought of over three minutes, as part of a 19-2 run. By the end of the first quarter, head coach Brenda Frese’s squad was up by 16, lead by Benzan’s nine points, which included two threes.
The Terps continued to dominate in the second quarter, making a 12-1 run, highlighted by triples from Miller, Benzan and Bibby, in a little over two minutes. Maryland extended its lead to 25 before Towson scored again. And with a little over three minutes to go in the second quarter, Towson was two minutes deep into another scoring drought.
“We are just being active and playing Maryland defense. I feel like that’s how we always play,” Miller said. “If you look at years past, that’s how Maryland plays D, so I think we were doing what we were supposed to do and we were really successful.”
Sophomore guard Ashley Owusu made a jumper in the last four seconds of the half, extending Maryland’s lead to 55-30 as it headed into the locker room. Owusu, Miller and Benzan all scored in double-digits by the time the first half was finished.
But, despite maintaining a lead, turnovers once again proved to be trouble for the Terps. In the second quarter, Maryland turned the ball over four times in just over three minutes. They ended the first half with 10 turnovers. One area the Terps did improve on was their fouling. Despite committing 75 personal fouls over the first three games, the Terps finished their matchup against Towson with 16.
Maryland came out of the locker room not letting up, with Owusu scoring the first four of the second half. As Maryland ran back to defend its basket, every player on the Terps sideline chanted “DEFENSE” to bring up the energy in a fan-less Xfinity Center. Their cheers worked, as senior guard Chloe Bibby came down with the defensive rebound, which led to another three from Benzan.
“Our three-point percentage was good so we just were sharing the ball and giving each other open shots and knocking them down,” Owusu said.
The Tigers answered with some spurts of their own, going on a 6-0 run to shorten the lead to 21, and later a 7-0 spree in less than a minute. By the end of the quarter, Towson had shortened the Maryland lead to 18.
Benzan once again was successful from deep to open the final quarter of the game, however, Towson continued to fight and went on another 6-0 run in around a minute to close the lead to 13.
But once again, when the Terps needed her most, Miller stepped up. The sophomore snapped the Towson run with a triple followed by a layup, starting a 13-1 run for Maryland in less than three minutes to put its opponent to bed.
.The Terps had three players score over 20 points in the victory, including career-high performances from Miller and Owusu who had 28 and 25, respectively.
“When we are unselfish like this, it really shines through with our offense,” Frese said.
Three Things To Know
1. Maryland had to replace Angel Reese early on. Just three minutes into the game, Reese appeared to be limping as she ran back down the court. She pointed to her right foot and tried to signal to the referee that she needed to get it checked out. A few seconds later, she committed a personal foul to stop the game and headed to the sideline, and eventually the locker room on crutches. Reese returned to the bench as the first half winded down in a boot and on crutches. Coach Frese said Reese will be evaluated in the next few days.
2. The Terps were dominant from deep once again. In the first half, Maryland shot 66.7% from the behind the arc. Seven players finished the game with at least one successful three-point shot. Benzan led the team in with six triples, while Miller added five of her own. The Terps set a new Big Ten conference record with 21 made three-pointers.
“I didn’t even know we shot that well, you’re playing just having fun and you don’t even realize what you’re doing,” Miller said. “It was a lot of fun and now we’re going for 22, I guess.”
3. Brenda Frese’s roster may be small, but it is deep. With Reese’s right foot injury and Zoe Young’s knee injury, Maryland has eight healthy players. However, in this game they showed that although they are small, they are mighty. In their second consecutive game hitting over 100 points, once again, every active player on Maryland’s roster scored at least two points. Even with Reese’s absence, the Terps had 44 rebounds and 36 points in the paint.
“We’ve always talked about that when someone goes down, and obviously the flexibility we need to be able to have during this pandemic is, you know, the next person up and I thought it was a terrific response by the team,” said Frese.