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Three takeaways from No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball’s win over Purdue

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The Terps’ defense came alive in what was a dominant showing at home.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball took down another Big Ten opponent Sunday afternoon, defeating Purdue in a 83-46 blowout in College Park.

The Terps swarmed the Boilermakers on the defensive end all game, letting up their fewest amount of points all season.

“Just a great overall team win against a really, really good Purdue team,” head coach Brenda Frese said.

After collecting its eighth straight victory, Maryland improves to a 9-1 record and a perfect 3-0 record in the new year. The Terps haven’t loss since Nov. 28, 2020, when they fell to No. 24 Missouri State.

Maryland will look to keep its momentum going when it takes on Minnesota on the road on Jan. 14. Three of the next four games are on the road for the Terps.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win over Purdue.

Maryland’s first half defense set the tone for the rest of the game

In a season where the Terps have been mainly recognized for their potent offense with an average 94.1 points per game, which ranks second in the country, it was refreshing to see the defensive clinic Maryland put on Purdue.

The Boilermakers didn’t hit their first field goal until the 4:49 mark of the first quarter and never seemed to have any kind of efficient offense throughout the game after the Terps held them to just six points in the opening frame. Maryland held Purdue to long scoring droughts in each quarter and it helped the Terps continually extend their lead.

“I love the fact that we never let up,” Frese said.

The Terps held the Boilermakers to just 7-of-33 shooting at the end of the first half. The Boilermakers managed to connect on two three-pointers after taking 16 attempts from behind the arc after the end of two quarters.

Maryland allowed just 22 points at half, which beat its previous season-best 27 points allowed at halftime against James Madison.

The defense was active and there always seemed to be a defender in the way to disrupt any kind of shot attempt from Purdue. The Boilermakers finished the game with a dismal 24% shooting clip and had 17 total turnovers. Maryland scored 22 points off those turnovers in the 37-point win.

“I feel like that’s the biggest area of growth for us and I thought we locked in,” Frese said. “We’ve kind of taken it personally when players have had career highs on us, and I thought we took it personally defensively today.”

This was the defensive performance that Frese had surely hoped for, as the Terps gave Purdue absolutely no breathing room all afternoon.

Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu provided a huge boost for the offense once again

The dynamic scoring duo of sophomores Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu struggled from an efficiency standpoint in Maryland’s last game against Michigan State. Miller and Owusu scored a total 34 points against the Spartans, but shot 8-for-27 from the field, which is just shy of 30%.

However, Maryland’s top scoring threats flipped the script and were two of the most efficient players on the court against Purdue.

In the first half, Miller managed 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting in just 16 minutes on the floor to go along with eight rebounds. Owusu had 10 points at half on 71.4% shooting.

Even after entering the second half up 21, the two Terps never relented against Purdue’s defense. They combined for 13 points in the third quarter alone, and at one point the duo combined for 35 points while the entire Purdue team had 36.

When all was said and done, Owusu led the way with 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting and nine assists. Miller finished with 16 points in just 21 minutes on the floor.

Maryland is now 9-0 this season when Miller scores 10 or more points.

The storyline has been repetitive, but it holds true: the Terps are nearly impossible to beat if Owusu and Miller are both on the top of their games.

“I think that we learned that we’re fighting team,” Owusu said. “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. 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.”

Alaysia Styles showed flashes of what she can do on the floor

With Maryland dominating for most of the game, Alaysia Styles had the opportunity to show her skills on the court.

In 20 minutes on the floor for the Terps, she was noticeable. That’s about all you can ask from the graduate transfer after being with the team for just a few weeks.

“The girls and the coaches have not made me feel out of place even in the slightest,” Styles said. “In fact they’ve literally brought me in with open arms and I feel comfortable, I feel I’m breaking out of my shell little by little, faster than I thought I was going to, and I’m just grateful to be here and grateful to be around good people, people who care about basketball.”

Styles shot 3-of-5 rom the floor for six points and she chipped in with four rebounds, one block and one steal to go along with one turnover.

The 6-foot-3 forward was quick and was very tenacious on the defensive end and seemed to make a positive impact on both ends of the floor. She’s clearly a very mobile big and is willing to do some of the dirty work in the rebounding game as well.

Styles is just another beneficial asset on this talented Maryland roster. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see her receive more time on the court after her brief, yet positive stint against Purdue.