With a one-point lead and just over 4:50 remaining in the third quarter, No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball finally went on its run after staying locked in a tight matchup Wisconsin throughout much of the contest.
The Terps’ defense came alive and held the Badgers to a three minute scoring drought, which enabled sophomore Diamond Miller to find her groove.
The guard drained in a three-pointer from the right side off the feed from Ashley Owusu to push the Maryland lead to eight. Then, after Wisconsin brought the game back to six, Miller came up big once again. The sophomore hit a left-wing mid-range jumper and Maryland went on a 6-0 run in the final three minutes, aided by a Faith Masonius offensive rebound and layup to help the Terps jump out to a strong 12 point lead.
Maryland never relented from that point, using its momentum to close out Wisconsin, 79-70 on Sunday afternoon.
“Anytime you can get a road win obviously we’re going to take it,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “We know how precious road wins are.”
The Terps came into the game on a nine-game winning streak with an undefeated 6-0 conference record, which now improves to 7-0 to remain atop the Big Ten. The win also marked the Terps’ 24th consecutive conference victory in Big Ten play.
Five different Terps scored in double-figures in what was an overall struggle to put the ball in the basket. Maryland finished the contest shooting just 26-of-68 (38.2%) as a team, its worst shooting performance this season. Coming into the game, the Terps had shot 48.5% from the floor on the season, including around nine three-pointers per game on 40.6% shooting. Against the Badgers, the team shot just 28.6% from long-range.
Maryland started off uncharacteristically slow in the first quarter, with Wisconsin jumping out to a quick 8-2 run to begin the game. The Terps shot just 1-for-7 from the field and missed on both of their three-point attempts in the opening four minutes. Wisconsin started off hot, scoring on 75% of its shots to put the pressure on Maryland with an early 6-0 run in the first few minutes.
However, Maryland forward Chloe Bibby came alive after expressing before the game that the Terps needed to come out with a better start after last time out against Minnesota.
Ashley Owusu stole the ball from the Badgers and then dished it to Bibby for an easy layup in the paint to tie the game at 8-8. Bibby then nailed two consecutive triples as the Terps went on a 9-0 run to give them their first lead of the game. Bibby wasn't finished scoring in the opening quarter, though, as she collected 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting clip.
The 6-foot-1 senior did her job in the opening frame for Maryland and set the tone for the rest of the game with her efficiency. Head coach Brenda Frese and the Terps needed that scoring spark from Bibby, as the team shot just 7-for-19 in the quarter but still came out with a seven-point lead.
“My teammates were just finding me and I was making the open shots,” Bibby said. “And that’s what we need to continue to do.”
Despite Bibby’s heroics in the early goings, Wisconsin didn’t relent as it kept it going in the second quarter. The Terps opened the second frame with just 27.2% shooting from the floor, but still led 30-21 with 4:56 left in the half.
However, a struggling Wisconsin squad charged back late in the quarter and compiled a quick 9-4 run with 3:04 remaining to put Maryland up just four. The Terps were forced to take a timeout and finished the half up just 39-35.
Maryland’s offensive stars struggled in the first half, with Diamond Miller, Katie Benzan and Owusu combining for just 4-for-20 shooting from the floor, which is a dismal 20% clip. Bibby, on the other hand, shot a dazzling 60% from the floor to collect 16 first half points in 19 minutes of playing time. She finished the contest with 19 points, adding six rebounds and five assists as well.
“Obviously that high release on her three, so hard to guard with her on the pick and pop,” Frese said on why Bibby is a special offensive weapon.
Wisconsin looked like a team on a mission coming out of the break, scoring the first points of the third quarter. Mimi Collins responded with four consecutive points of her own, with the first field goal coming off a clean mid-range jumper and the second coming off of an easy stretch layup in the paint. Collins rebounded the ball beautifully all game for Maryland, collecting five rebounds in the first five minutes of the third quarter alone.
Maryland then went on a strong run, led by Miller and the defense, which held Wisconsin to just 28.6% shooting in the third quarter. Miller shot a perfect 2-for-2 in the third and collected seven points.
Owusu carried the Terps’ momentum into the final frame, with a quick bucket and a foul off a strong drive to the basket to push the lead to 15. The Terps never relented from there on out, ending their road trip with yet another victory.
Three Things To Know
1. Mimi Collins had a very strong day for the Terps. In the absence of Angel Reese, it was expected that Collins would receive a much larger role for Frese and the Terps. The 6-foot-3 redshirt sophomore collected 11 points and a career-high 17 rebounds on the afternoon.
“I just started jumping and the ball just magically started coming to me,” Collins said after the win.
She was a problem all game on the glass for the Badgers and finished with nine offensive rebounds. Maryland will certainly benefit from more positive performances like this one from Collins with Reese and Channise Lewis out.
2. Maryland’s strong rebounding margin helped capture the victory. Coming into this game against Wisconsin, Maryland was a +6.3 in the rebounding margin. The Terps did more than enough to improve that average after out-rebounding the Badgers, 44-29. Four different Terps had at least five rebounds on the afternoon in what was a dominant day on the glass.
3. The Terps limited their turnovers. Despite not having the best game against a weaker Wisconsin team, Maryland did an excellent job with its turnover margin. The Terps had just three total team turnovers with five minutes left in the third quarter when the score was still within five. Controlling its turnovers did wonders for the Terps late in the game, as Maryland was eventually able to extend its lead to double-digits. Maryland finished with just nine turnovers as a team.