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Three takeaways from No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball’s win over Nebraska

Frese hits win No. 500 and the Terps flex their scoring prowess again to collect their third straight win.

Photo courtesy of Maryland women’s basketball

No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball took down another Big Ten opponent in unranked Nebraska in a dominant 95-73 contest in Lincoln, Nebraska on Sunday evening.

The Terps shot the ball well for the majority of the game and never took their foot off the gas to eventually collect their 14th win of the season. Maryland now has a 10-1 Big Ten record as it maintains its spot atop the conference standings.

“Incredibly proud of this team. You see the passion and the love that they play with in this game,” Frese said. “Just given the resiliency of our travel day to have to come in the day of the game to be able to watch that first quarter where I thought we punched first. It was an incredible game when you talk about the unselfishness of this team each and every quarter. They played extremely hard for one another.”

Maryland has won three straight games since losing to Ohio State on Jan. 25. The Terps have five regular season games left on the schedule, with their next matchup coming against Illinois on Wednesday.

Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win.

Frese becomes the all-time winningest coach in Terps’ program history

The dominant win from the Terps propelled Frese to her 500th win as a coach at the Maryland. The victory helped her pass former head coach and Hall of Famer Chris Weller to become the new placeholder in the Maryland women’s basketball’s record books.

Frese now holds the most wins in Maryland men’s and women’s basketball history. In her 19th season at the helm of the Terps, she has amassed a strong record of 500-130 (79.4%). Her win total is ahead of the likes of Weller (499 wins), Gary Williams (461 wins) and Lefty Driesell (348 wins). Weller coached the Terrapins for 27 seasons, yet Frese eclipsed her win mark with eight less seasons under her belt.

“There’s not another team I would rather celebrate this milestone with,” Frese said. “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 at Maryland together, on the road for one another.”

Frese, who has been the head coach since 2002, has made Maryland a staple among the elite of Division I women’s college basketball. She has led the Terps to 12 conference titles and 15 NCAA Tournament appearances. Her career is highlighted by three Final Four appearances and winning the 2006 National Championship.

This season, Maryland has won 14 games to help Frese reach this historic mark. The Terps have lost just once in the new year and have won 13 of their last 14 matchups.

Frese will have more opportunities to extend her win total at Maryland this season, as the Terps still have five more regular season games this season and the postseason to come as well.

“It’s been an incredible journey, one that I’m incredibly proud of,” Frese said. “Most importantly is just the consistency factor to be able to do this at such a high level, day in and day out, with such incredible student-athletes and families and staff and support staff to make this happen.”

Maryland’s strong first half put the game out of reach

Maryland jumped out of the gates right away and seemed to never look back on what ended up being a memorable night for the program.

After falling to their only deficit of the game with a 4-2 score in the infant stages of the first quarter, the Terps were able to quickly set the tone for the rest of the contest. Maryland shot 6-for-7 (86%) from the field to start the game and opened the flood gates with a fast 14-4 lead, which was highlighted by a blistering 12-0 run.

Chloe Bibby and Ashley Owusu led the way in the scoring column to build Maryland’s early lead, as the duo combined for 15 in the first quarter. The Terps shot 11-for-17 to close the opening frame and maintained a 27-16 lead heading into the second.

Maryland was able to extend its lead even further in the second and eventually blew the game open with its combination of offensive pace and efficiency. Players were able to drive into the lane with ease and there were plenty of instances where Terps drilled routine shots from mid-range.

The Terps would go on to outscore the Cornhuskers, 24-17, in the second frame off of brilliant shooting once again. Maryland finished up the first half with lights out shooting, going 20-for-33 (60.6%) from the floor as a team. Bibby led the way with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, with four made three-pointers on six attempts as well.

Maryland made its statement in the first two quarters of this one and a strong 18-point lead at half proved too much to overcome for a middle-of-the-pack Nebraska roster.

The Terps’ core scorers get the job done once again

Heading into its matchup against Nebraska, Maryland averaged a country-leading 91.5 points per game. And, with the help of the Terps’ usual suspects on offense, they were able to eclipse their season average with an efficient offensive outing. Maryland was able to put up 95 points at Pinnacle Bank Arena, which is a scoring record at the venue.

Three of the Terps’ four top scorers did the bulk of the work in the win over the Cornhuskers. Owusu, who came into the game averaging around 19 points per game, led the way for the Terps on the offensive end with 25 points on a crisp 10-for-15 shooting. She also chipped in with seven rebounds and seven assists in 33 minutes on the floor. Owusu was the leader that she has been all season and she guided Maryland’s offense all evening.

“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.

Diamond Miller, Mimi Collins and Bibby also came through with effective performances of their own. Miller put up 24 points in 30 minutes with a dazzling 9-for-12 shooting performance. Collins was firing early and often, and eventually finished with 19 points on 60% shooting with seven rebounds. Bibby, who failed to score in the second half, scored 16 points in the first half to help Maryland build its lead.

“We also just share the wealth and we also love to attack the glass,” Collins said after the win.

Only 11 points were scored by players not named Owusu, Miller, Collins and Bibby. If the Terps are going to make a deep run in the postseason, it will be the core contributors who will push Maryland to the top.

The internet shows love for Frese’s historic accomplishment: