Shortly after the final buzzer sounded, Brenda Frese did a little shimmy and was immediately surrounded by the Maryland women’s basketball team. The Terrapin squad enthusiastically jumped up and down, not wasting a second to help celebrate its head coach’s 500th win.
Even under her mask, it was clear that Frese was beaming with pride and excitement as she shared the moment she broke the program record for wins with her team.
“There’s not another team I would rather celebrate this milestone with,” Frese said. “When you look at the resiliency of this team and what they’ve been through this season I think it’s really appropriate that we would be able to celebrate this 500th win in Maryland together on the road.”
After tying the record last time out, Frese entered Sunday’s matchup against Nebraska with a chance to break the historic mark with her Terrapin squad.
Win No. 500 was just within reach ahead of the contest, but as soon as the action got underway, there was no question that this 2020-21 Maryland squad would lead its head coach to do so.
Maryland put together a dominant performance, a common thread throughout Frese’s career, to secure the 95-73 victory over Nebraska as Frese earned her 500th victory at Maryland.
With the win Sunday night, Frese set a new program record. Weller hit 499 wins in 27 seasons, Frese has 500 wins as the Maryland head coach and is in just her 19th year with the team.
A 10-day break from gameplay and arriving in Lincoln, Nebraska the day of this matchup did not stop Maryland from coming out hot.
“There really wasn’t any rust,” Frese said. “We worked on us all week and I thought it shows.”
The Terps got on the board first with a jumper from sophomore redshirt Mimi Collins. Nebraska answered with two points of their own but senior forward Chloe Bibby regained the lead with a three. The shot from deep sparked a 12-0 run for the Terps that lasted about two minutes forcing a Nebraska timeout.
In the first three and a half minutes of the game, Maryland was 6-for-7 from the field while holding Nebraska to 2-for-7 shooting from the floor.
Out of the timeout, Nebraska sank a layup but Maryland answered with two of their own to extend their run to 16-4 that lasted over four and a half minutes. Nebraska snapped the run but Maryland continued to push as Bibby hit her second three of the day to give the Terps their largest lead of the game— 14 points.
In the last seconds of the first quarter, Nebraska was driving to the basket but Bibby used her height to get up and deny the basket as the Terps held on to their 27-16 lead.
To finish the first quarter, Maryland was shooting 65% from the field as they held Nebraska to just 47% from the field. The Terps forced five turnovers in the first 10 minutes and scored seven points off them while only turning the ball over once.
“We had kind of a rough day between yesterday and today. So just coming out and keeping in our heads high and playing Maryland basketball for 40 minutes,” Owusu said on where some of the energy came from to start the game off on such a high note.
Bibby started the second quarter just as strong as she played in the first by sinking a layup to bring her point total up to 11 on the day. As Nebraska tried to climb back hitting a few threes, sophomore guard Diamond Miller answered with one of her own.
Sophomore guard Ashley Owusu had the ball, passed it to Miller who came across to the top of the arc, she stepped back to sink her first three of the day.
With about five minutes to go in the first half, three Maryland players already tallied double-digit scoring. Owusu and Bibby had 11 each and Miller had 10. Just about a minute and a half later, Collins joined the club with ten points as sophomore guard Faith Masonious passed the ball out to her for the jumper.
Although the last two and a half minutes of the second quarter were not as strong as the rest of the first half— the Terps scored zero points and committed a turnover— they held onto their commanding 51-33 lead as they headed into the locker room at the half.
Bibby dominated the first half leading the team with 16 points shooting 66.7% from the field. and leading the team on the boards grabbing five rebounds.
Nebraska has allowed their opponents to shoot just 31.2% from the three-point range but Maryland, specifically Bibby, got started early and could not be stopped. In the first half, Bibby was perfect from behind the arc going 4-for-4 until she missed two in the last few minutes of the half.
However, senior guard Katie Benzan who averages 3.9 threes a game, was quiet in the first half with only two points and no attempted shots from deep.
In the second half, Maryland let off the gas allowing Nebraska to go on an 8-0 run of their own to close Maryland’s lead to 12 points to force a Maryland timeout.
However, out of the timeout, Frese does what she does best— motivated the team to turn back the momentum in their favor.
Shortly after the timeout, Owusu brought the ball down the court looking to break the Terps’ brief scoring drought. She passed it out to Miller, who stepped to two defenders, pulled back and sunk the layup. And from there, Frese’s squad completely took over once again.
“I think sometimes we can go in some little lapses defensively or if we’re not scoring the basketball ,and I think that’s the biggest thing I’m trying to kind of eliminate as we prepare for March,” Frese said.
Miller’s jumper sparked a 17-2 run for the Terps that lasted almost three and a half minutes. Maryland made all seven of their last field goals while also forcing three turnovers in the quarter. It was all but over from there, with Maryland cruising to the history victory behind Frese’s coaching efforts.
The Terps’ 95 points in the victory marked the 10th game that they have scored at least 90 points this season. The team leads the country in points per game, but national notoriety isn’t anything new for Frese.
Dominant performances such as Sunday night’s win have become the standard for Frese-led teams at Maryland, where she is now the winningest coach in program history. Now her legacy continues to fold as this Terrapin team prepares for a deep run in March.
Three Things To Know
1. Owusu continued to show her dominance. In the first half, Owusu had 11 points, shooting 50% from the field and going 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. She pulled three rebounds and led the team with five assists. The guard averaged 5.4 assists per game and nearly reached that mark in the first 20 minutes of gameplay. Owusu led the Terps in points and steals. The sophomore guard recorded 25 points and three steals. Owusu also pulled in seven rebounds and had seven assists.
“We were just excited to finally come out here and, play and we were just ready to come out on the court and play with each other,” Owusu said.
2. Maryland brought the pressure and capitalized on turnovers once again. The Terps finished the game forcing 12 turnovers and scoring 18 points off the takeaways. Maryland went on multiple runs sending the Cornhuskers into scoreless droughts that allowed the Terps’ offense to continue to pull away.
3. The Terps were successful on the boards. Coming into this matchup, these two teams had starkly different rebounding margins with Maryland at +7.3 and Nebraska at -1.3. In the first half, the Terps outrebounded the Cornhuskers 18-12. Bibby led the team in the first 20 minutes of play grabbing five rebounds.
“We do a lot of box-out drills we do a lot of rebounding drills,” Collins said. “We also just share the wealth and we also love to attack the glass,” Collins said.
The Terps finished this game outrebounding the Cornhuskers 38-30. Owusu, Bibby, Collins and Masonious pulled in seven each.