No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball won its sixth straight game, defeating the likes of No. 19 Indiana in a tight 84-80 game in College Park.
The Terps shot the ball beautifully on the offensive end all night, led by the performance of sophomore standout Ashley Owusu to take down the Hoosiers.
After moving up two spots in the AP Poll this week, Maryland now has a sparkling 7-1 record and is undefeated at home. The Terps’ only loss came to a ranked Missouri State team on Nov. 28.
Maryland will now look to build on its red-hot record with another highly anticipated Big Ten matchup against No. 25 Michigan State looming. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win over Indiana.
The Terps finally found their rhythm in the opening frame
Maryland had two very uncharacteristic starts in its two games before facing Indiana. The Terps shot well below 50% from the field in the first quarter against both James Madison and Penn State.
However, head coach Brenda Frese and the Terps were able to flip the script on the opening frame this time.
Maryland started out on fire from the field on the offensive end, going on a quick 10-0 run and hitting its first four field goal attempts.
“Really proud of the way we jumped out to start the game,” Frese said. “And you could tell we were fired up from the tip, really made a statement.”
Katie Benzan opened the contest with two quick three-pointers and Owusu hit four field goals in the first quarter for eight points to give the Terps a boost.
The Terps hit their first three shots from behind the arc and had just two turnovers to show for it in the first quarter.
Maryland finished the opening frame up 23-9, and it held Indiana to just 23.5% shooting in the quarter without a made triple on five attempts as well. Maryland shot 10-for-15 from the field in what was a dominant opening 10 minutes to start the crucial Big Ten powerhouse matchup.
High energy starts like this one against Indiana are what Frese and the Terps will need to do on a consistent basis with a solid Big Ten slate coming up on the schedule.
“We were just ready to play,” Chloe Bibby said. “We knew that Indiana was going to be a tough team, and I think it all started in our warm-up when we were hyped and we were locked in early, and that really just helped us follow it into the first quarter.”
The stars shined for Maryland on offense against tough competition
When the schedule turns into more of a challenge, teams tend to lean on their stars for production. That’s exactly what the Terps did against the Hoosiers.
Diamond Miller and Owusu showed up once again for Maryland, as the dynamic backcourt duo has done all season for Maryland.
After dropping a career-high 34 points against Penn State last game, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year scored 20 points in 34 minutes on the floor. Owusu shot 9-for-17 and chipped in with five rebounds and five assists.
“Just taking what the defense gives me and not pre-determining what I’m going to do with the ball and just staying alert and aware of what’s going on,” Owusu said on how she’s able to stay efficient on the offense end.
Miller also dropped 20 points on Indiana’s defense. The sophomore shot a dazzling 66.7% from the floor and hit two three-pointers on three attempts. She also had six rebounds, two assists and a block to go along with her scoring.
After both of their performances, Owusu and Miller remain the No. 1 and No. 2 players in individual scoring on a per game basis on this Terps team. Owusu averages 18.6 per game and Miller scores 18.1 points per game. The third highest scorer per game is Benzan with 15.1.
If these two are able to sustain their offensive success, which so far they have, then Maryland will only see its program rise or remain the same in the national rankings on a weekly basis.
The Terps were able to avoid the upset on home court
Heading into halftime, the Terps took a dominant 12-point lead over the Hoosiers. However, early on in the third quarter it seemed as though Indiana had finally found its game.
The Hoosiers went on a blistering run on the offensive end and at one point hit six of their last seven shot attempts to cut the Terps’ lead to single digits.
The Terps’ lead was cut to six, then to four, and then eventually all the way down to two when the score was set at 43-41 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
“Indiana’s a veteran-led team, so you knew they weren’t going to quit,” Frese said.
However, after a much needed timeout from Frese, Bibby nailed a big three-pointer with 5:25 remaining to extend the lead back to five. It was all the Terps needed to regain their confidence.
Owusu then scored one of her signature mid-range jumpers from the elbow and Maryland went on a 12-2 run to end the third quarter to push the lead back to 14. Luckily for the Terps, the Hoosiers weren't able to eclipse that deficit in the final frame as Maryland used its free throw shooting efficiency to close out Indiana.
The final quarter was a real sign of maturity and poise from this Terps squad and they’ll need similar closeouts in tight games if they hope to be ranked as high as possible deeper into the season.
“I think we continue to prove what a great team we are,” Frese said. “I think it’s too early to say where any team is at in this league. I think for us, we want to prove ourselves every time we step out on the floor.”