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Behind its diverse firepower, No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball defeats Minnesota, 90-73

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The Terps had three players top 20 points Thursday night

Indiana v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

With about four and a half minutes to go in the third quarter, sophomore forward Faith Masonius stole the ball away from Minnesota and made a leaping cross-court pass to sophomore guard Ashley Owusu.

With the defender in her face, Owusu jumped up to tip the ball to senior forward Chloe Bibby, who was by the basket. Bibby grabbed the ball, took one step and sunk the layup to continue a 14-6 run for the Terps to close out the quarter.

Maryland was led by its offensive firepower as it coasted to a 90-73 victory over Minnesota Thursday night.

Coming into this matchup, the team was second in the nation with 94.1 points per game, bolstered by six players averaging over 10 points and five averaged at least six rebounds per game. That talent was on full display Thursday night.

Four players finished in double-digit scoring, with three of those players ending the night with over 20 points. The team has only done so one other time this season, against Towson in a 112-78 victory back in December.

“It speaks volumes to our great talents and the depth that we have. When we share the basketball great things are in store for us,” said head coach Brenda Frese. “But we know we can score the basketball on the offensive end. For us, the concern is now the defense and the rebounding that we know we can play a more complete game.”

The Terps have now scored more than 90 points in each of their four road games so far this season, with three coming in Big Ten play.

Minnesota got on the board first with a layup about one minute into the game, but those were the last points the Gophers would see until there were six minutes left in the first quarter.

After missing two shots from deep earlier in the quarter, senior guard Katie Benzan hit a three-point shot to start off an 8-0 run for the Terps. But, following a two and a half minute scoring drought, Minnesota went on an 8-0 run of their own until a layup from senior forward Chloe Bibby tied the game.

“I think we were just finding each other and my teammates were finding me and I was just trying to finish where I could and really trying to get on the board,” Bibby said.

As they headed into the first timeout of the game with about four minutes to go, the Terps were shooting 4-for-10 from the field and just 2-for-6 from beyond the arc as Minnesota was heating up — connecting on four straight field goal attempts.

Momentum shifted as the Terps went on a 4-0 run as sophomore guard Diamond Miller stole the ball away from the Gophers forcing a Minnesota timeout.

“I know I could play defense and I just have to prove it to the coaches and everybody and I think I was doing that today. I still have lots to learn but this is a good start for me and I just have to keep building on this,” Miller said.

As Maryland found its offensive footing, sophomore guard Ashley Owusu carried the ball down the court and got it to Benzan, who passed it out to Bibby behind the arc to hit her second of back-to-back threes. She had six on the night.

To finish the first quarter, Maryland went on an 11-2 run as it made six of their last seven field goals. Bibby had 10 points in the first ten minutes, going 3-for-4 shooting. She was the star of the first half in a game that featured the multitude of talent on head coach Brenda Frese’s roster, scoring 15 points with ease.

The second quarter started just like the first— with a bucket from Minnesota. Although Miller answered with a quick three, Minnesota kept it close going on a 6-0 run holding Maryland to zero points in over two minutes.

Halfway through the second quarter, Minnesota was shooting better from behind the arc and the field than the Terps’ high-powered attack. Minnesota was shooting a blistering 63% from the three-point range, while Maryland was at just 50%.

“We can’t start games like that. We have a first half like that against a top-10 opponent and we’re down by 20,” said Bibby. “We know that and it’s all a learning curve.”

But Maryland was able to hold on to its lead as it shared the ball. In the second quarter, the Terps scored 25 points with seven out of the nine active players on the Maryland roster finding the basket. Headed into the locker room, the Terps led the Gophers, 50-43.

[“Minnesota] really shot the ball well. Obviously, we were disappointed defensively in our first half of play but love our response out of the locker room,” Frese said. “I thought the third quarter obviously was Maryland basketball— how we know how to play and terrific response.”

Benzan started the second half with a three-point shot to kick off a 10-0 run for the Terps that included a layup and three from Miller and finished with a media timeout. Eight of the 10 points came off assists from Owusu.

Coming into the game, Owusu led the team in assists, averaging 4.9 per game. Against the Gophers, the sophomore guard finished the game with eight assists and zero turnovers. As a whole, the team finished with 22, marking its sixth game this season the team has assisted on at least 20 buckets.

Out of the timeout, Maryland continued to score and held Minnesota to zero points in about three and a half minutes.

With about two and a half minutes to go in the third quarter, Minnesota was in another scoring drought as Maryland went on another run as they scored nine unanswered points in over two minutes.

Minnesota got back into its rhythm in the fourth quarter as it went on an 8-0 run that lasted over a minute, but Maryland could not be caught as it once again coasted to an easy victory. Still, the team isn’t satisfied.

“The road wins are precious and to be able to go on the road and get a win, but disappointed that I think we can play a lot better,” said Frese.

Three Things To Know

1. Maryland capitalized off Minnesota’s turnovers. In the first half, the Terps forced seven turnovers and scored 12 points off those takeaways. Six of those 12 points were three-point shots from Benzan. To finish the game, the Terps forced 16 turnovers and scored 24 points off them.

2. The bench played a role in Maryland’s success. Senior forward Alaysia Styles, sophomore forward Faith Masonius and freshman guard Taisiya Kozlova all got into the game during the first half for at least one minute. Styles and Masonius each finished the first half with four points and Masonius had two rebounds and an assist. Redshirt freshman Zoe Young saw her first minutes of the game in the second half and recorded a defensive rebound for the Terps.

3. The Terps out-rebounded the Gophers. Coming into this matchup, Minnesota averaged 14 offense rebounds per contest. However, in this game, Minnesota grabbed just eight offensive rebounds while Maryland pulled in 14, with Bibby grabbing six offensive rebounds herself.