Maryland women’s basketball was able to get the job done in its home opener, defeating Towson, 112-78, at Xfinity Center Thursday night.
The Terps played consistently on offense the entire evening and shot over 60% from the field and over 67% from three-point range. Every player on the roster recorded a point in what was a blowout non-conference victory.
With a now 3-1 record on the 2020 season, Maryland will look to keep it rolling as the season progresses into early December. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win over Towson.
The sophomores are ready to lead
Sophomores Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu are ready to lead this Terp team for the rest of the season. The tantalizing backcourt duo made that clear with its play Thursday night.
Both Miller and Owusu achieved career-highs in scoring with 28 and 25 points, respectively. They connected on their shots all night, hitting a combined 19-for-30 field goals from the floor.
“I think we just came out with a lot of confidence and shot the ball well,” Owusu said.
Even better, Miller reached her highest scoring output in just 23 minutes, draining 5-of-7 three-pointers on the night as well.
The duo’s high-scoring output was needed as the team’s second-leading scorer, Angel Reese, exited with a foot injury early on.
With a team of talented graduate transfers, it is easy to forget how far along both of these players have come, despite being just four games into the Maryland season. It’s clear that Miller and the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year have taken significant leaps from their freshmen seasons.
The Terps will certainly use the abilities and leadership of both Miller and Owusu to their advantage as the season progresses. Only time will tell if both of these players are able to stay red-hot shooting wise.
The Terps are letting it fly from deep
As a team, Maryland has attempted no less than 16 shots per game from behind the arc this season.
And once again, the Terps tore it up from three-point range against Towson, going 21-for-31. That’s good enough for 67.7 percent. Seven different Maryland players successfully hit at least one three en route to the victory.
Katie Benzan dazzled again from long range, hitting a marksman-esque 6-of-7 triples during the game. She only attempted eight total shots from the field. Benzan now boasts a remarkable 57.6% success rate from three-point range through four games.
Besides Benzan, Chloe Bibby, Miller and Owusu connected on at least three triples throughout Thursday’s contest.
“When we are unselfish like this, it really shines through with our offense,” head coach Brenda Frese said.
Maryland’s 21-made threes were a new Big Ten record for made three-point field goals in a game. It’s safe to say that the 2020 Terps are lethal from behind the arc.
“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.”
As a team through four games, Maryland is now shooting 47.9% from deep. If the Terps are going to continue to put up scores above the century mark, it seems as though the long range game will help them get there.
Angel Reese left with an injury
After just three minutes on the floor, Reese came out with what seemed to be a right foot injury. Team trainers checked out the freshman’s foot and she was escorted to the locker room moments later. Reese totaled just two points and two rebounds on 1-for-1 shooting before exiting.
“I know Angel will be fully evaluated in the coming days, and then, we’ll see where we go from there,” Frese said. “But we really won’t know anything until she’s evaluated,”
Any amount time that Reese misses will surely have a negative impact on this Terps team. Coming into Thursday night, the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2020 averaged 17.0 points and 8.7 rebounds in her first three games in a Maryland uniform.
With Reese looking at some time on the sideline, it will mean that the remaining three forwards listed on Maryland’s roster will need to step up.
“We’ve always talked about that,” Frese said. “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.”
The likes of Bibby, Mimi Collins and Faith Masonius will most likely need to shoulder more of the weight on the floor for Maryland’s front court. Collins and Masonius both average under 20 minutes per game thus far this season.
It’ll be interesting to see how Frese dishes out game minutes to her depth players as the Terps take on two nonconference opponents in their next two matchups. Big Ten play doesn't start until Dec. 14, when Maryland travels to Rutgers.