Sophomore guard Taylor Mikesell has been regaining her hot hand for No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball, and with 6:19 left in the third quarter Monday night, she sank her third triple to restart a Terp run against Michigan State.
Less than a minute later with a layup in between, guard Ashley Owusu calmly took a pass from fellow freshman Diamond Miller and squared up to shoot.
Despite coming into Monday’s matchup against Michigan State just 9-of-30 on the season from three-point range, Owusu sank her second long-range strike of the game — extending the Terps’ early run to a 14-2 advantage.
Maryland was able to use bunch scoring throughout the contest, en route to a dominant 94-53 win over Michigan State. The victory marks the most points score by the team since Dec. 22 against Georgia State.
Owusu led all scorers with a career-high 22 points, along with eight assists and six rebounds, in 35 minutes off the bench. Mikesell, Kaila Charles and Shakira Austin all scored in double figures as well, combining for 51 points.
“Ashley separated herself tonight,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “[She] just made some tremendous plays that really got us sparked and going.”
The Terps were as accurate as they’ve been all season, shooting a season-high 62 percent from the field and converting a season-high 69.2 percent of their chances from three-point range. On the defensive end, Maryland limited Michigan State to 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc.
The Spartans were able to hang with the Terps early on in this one, taking a 10-8 lead just ahead of the first media timeout, thanks to three early Maryland turnovers.
The Terps found their groove though in the latter half of the first quarter, as the team exploded for a 16-0 run — including 11 points in a row by Charles. Her final bucket was a ruthless one, as she took the ball and dribbled right through Michigan State’s Moira Joiner and converted an and-one opportunity.
The second quarter opened with a Spartan layup, but Charles answered for the Terps with a pull-up jumper at the elbow. Both teams struggled to score from that point on, but Maryland was able to cling to a 30-20 lead halfway through the quarter.
But with 3:02 left in the first half, Mikesell received a pass and connected on a three-point attempt that brought the Xfinity Center crowd back into the game.
That bucket ignited a 15-0 Maryland run that nearly lasted until the end of the half — where the Terps held a 45-22 lead. Charles led all scorers with 13 points despite not scoring in the second major first half run.
“It started on the defensive end,” Mikesell said. “We got stops, we were able to get uncontested shots on the three point line and transition. So just this attacking the transition and go until you get stopped and then kick the ball out. Ashley and are other guards made a really good read kicking it out to us shooters.”
Charles used her strength to open the second half scoring with a layup less than 20 seconds into the half, and then quickly found Mikesell with a sneaky pass between two defenders on an ensuing fast break that resulted in another layup.
The Terps were able to embark on a 14-2 run over a 2:29 stretch early in the third quarter to further expand their already dominant lead.
Michigan State tried its best to fight back and keep things even late in the third, but a Faith Masonius three-pointer with 19 seconds left provided a nail in the coffin. Maryland outscored the Spartans 31-16 in the period to take a 76-38 lead heading into the final frame.
“Us just being able to get into a stance and really focus on our defense [was important],” Owusu said. She went on to laud the passing of the team and how important the transition game was.
Things continued to trend positively for the Terps in the fourth, as they kicked things off with a 9-4 run that included Miller’s second made three of the evening.
That run did the damage, as the Terps simply cruised to to the finish line.
Three things to know
1. Maryland shot well from beyond the arc. In the first half, the Terps shot 75 percent from deep as Mikesell converted two of her three chances and Owusu added an open triple to her scoreline.
Maryland finished this one shooting 69.2 percent from beyond the arc — including at least two makes from Mikesell, Owusu and Miller. The Terps also shot 62 percent from the field, a new season-high.
“We’re starting to have a better feel for for one another,” Frese said. “And obviously, when you can share the basketball like we did, with 22 assists, I think you can hear the communication is greater. I think finding the right person. I mean, we’re really challenging to make the right play on the offensive end, and I think you see how easy the game can be for us when when we’re just in a groove to want to make the right play for one another.”
2. The Terps distributed the ball with ease. Maryland tallied 22 assists on the evening despite averaging 17.5 per game ahead of Monday’s contest. The team tallied a season-high 30 assists in the season-opening win against Wagner, and had not notched this many since Dec. 18 against Georgia State (29).
“It’s a fun night when you share the basketball the way we did, you shoot it as well as we did,” Frese said. “This team continues to just stack days and practices, which is where we’re trying to be able to get it from a consistency.”
3. Maryland has regained a share of first place. Thanks to Iowa falling to Michigan on Sunday, the Terps had a chance to officially move back to the top. and they took advantage. The 94-53 win over Michigan State moved Maryland into a three-way tie with Northwestern and Iowa — with each team sporting a 9-2 record.