With around six minutes left in the third quarter, senior forward Chloe Bibby pulled down the defensive rebound and senior guard Katie Benzan got to work. She moved the ball down the court and got it into the hands of sophomore guard Diamond Miller.
Miller sank her seventh basket of the day to spark a 17-2 run for No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball. For over five minutes, the Terps’ defense held Purdue without a field goal to enter the fourth quarter with a 33-point advantage.
Maryland was led by its defense as it coasted to a 83-46 victory over the Boilermakers Sunday afternoon, holding its opponent to score its fewest points this season.
Throughout the contest, Purdue didn’t score more than 16 points in a single quarter. The team from West Lafayette, Indiana shot just 13-for-54 (24.1%) on field goal attempts and 6-for-24 (25%) from deep. The Terps forced 17 turnovers, scoring 22 points off such mistakes.
“I thought this was one of our most complete 40-minute efforts...I was really proud of the defensive effort,” said Head Coach Brenda Frese. “For us to hold a great team like Purdue to 46 points, I mean the 24% field goal percentage was the lowest field goal percentage for any team here in Maryland within the Big Ten.”
The Boilermakers average 72.5 points per game, but Maryland denied them from the start, only allowing its opponent a mere six points in the first quarter. The defense forced five turnovers and scored five of their 16 points off rebounds, and in the first half, the team held Purdue to just seven field goals.
But in the first 10 minutes of the game, Maryland was shooting 0-of-5 from behind the arc, an uncharacteristic performance from the Terps. About two minutes into the second quarter, Maryland led Purdue by ten but was searching for a spark to extend their lead.
As they headed into the first timeout of the game with over four minutes to go, the Terps were shooting just 4-for-11 from the field but they continued to play tough defense holding the Boilermakers to just three points.
Out of the timeout, Purdue found some rhythm closing Maryland’s lead to just two points but Miller answered with back-to-back shots sparking an 8-0 run for the Terps that lasted about three and a half minutes.
To finish the first quarter, Maryland’s defense shined as Purdue experienced a scoring drought the last three minutes of the game. The Terps held the Boilermakers to just 13% from the field and 1-of-7 from behind the arc to maintain their 16-6 lead.
“I feel like [defense is] the biggest area of growth for us, and I thought we locked in,” said Frese. “We’ve kind of taken it personally when players have had career highs on us and I thought we took it personally defensively today.”
The second quarter started with a bucket from Purdue, but the tides quickly turned.
Sophomore guard Ashley Owusu had the ball at the top of the key and after challenging her defender, she passed the ball out to her left where Miller grabbed it to sink her first three of the game to kick off an 8-0 run for the Terps. Less than a minute later, Maryland forced a turnover and it was an instant replay — Owusu to Miller for three.
Although Purdue continued to chip away at Maryland’s lead, with just five seconds to go in the second quarter, Owusu had the ball at the top of the key and as she lost control, she pushed it toward Bibby who picked it up to hit a successful three-point shot.
As Purdue inbounded the ball, Owusu stole it away and sank a layup at the buzzer to finish the first half with 10 points.
“We learned that we’re fighting team. Just going back to the Michigan State game, they came out in the third quarter and had their run but we found a way to pull out the win,” Owusu said. “I just learned that we’re poised and we can keep our composure when things aren’t going the way and when things are going our way.”
Headed into the locker room, the Terps led the Boilermakers 43-22 as Miller led the Terps with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Purdue came out of the locker room with energy stealing the ball away from Owusu to push down the court for the layup. But, Miller was there to answer again. Off a steal by Collins, Miller made another layup on the fast break as the Terps could not be caught.
With six minutes left in the third quarter, Benzan passed the ball to Miller to spark the 17-2 run for the Terps which included grad transfer Alaysia Styles’ first points in a Maryland uniform.
Maryland’s strong defense continued in the fourth quarter, as Purdue didn’t score a field goal in the last five minutes of the game, yet another scoreless streak for the Boilermakers. In the last 10 minutes of the game, the Terps outscored the Boilermakers 14-10, sealing off the easy victory.
“We already know what kind of offensive team we are and so when you talk about on the defensive end as we can put that together on both ends of the floor it makes us a very dangerous team,” said Frese.
Three Things To Know
1. Four players finished in double-digit scoring. Miller, Owusu, Bibby and Benzan helped lead the way for the Terps on the offensive end. Owusu remained hot and led the team with 19 points, followed by Miller with 16, while Bibby and Benzan each had 11. The diverse offense came in a game where no Terp played more than 17 minutes despite injuries shortening the team’s depth.
2. Purdue held Katie Benzan to zero points in the first half but couldn’t keep it up in the second. The Harvard grad transfer averages 15.6 points per game and leads the team from behind the arc averaging 3.6 three-point shots made per game. However, in the first half of this matchup, Benzan played 16 minutes but was shut out. The senior guard was 0-for-1 from the field, missing her lone attempt from the three-point line. With about three minutes left in the third quarter, Benzan sank her first three of the game and after that could not be stopped. In the third quarter, Benzan went three-for-three from behind the arc.
3. Graduate transfer Alaysia Styles scored her first points as a Terp. Styles played for about a minute in the Indiana game but against Purdue, the forward from Cal saw 20 minutes on the court and made them count. Styles first points as Terp came in the third quarter but she didn’t stop there. Styles finished the game with 6 points, 4 boards and a steal.
“I wholeheartedly mean that these girls and coaches have raised my bar in the past five practices that I’ve had and everyone plays with such high intensity,” said Styles. “Everyone cares, everyone’s motivated and that has raised my ability and raised my confidence and everything up to that point.”