With 30 seconds to go in the first quarter, Minnesota forward, Caroline Strande went up for the jumper. As her shot bounced off the rim, senior forwards Chloe Bibby and Alaysia Styles jumped up and knocked the ball up toward half-court.
Sophomore forward Faith Masonius swiped it away from a Golden Gopher, gained control and dribbled it up the left side of the court to the basket. Masonius faked the shot before sending the bounce pass to sophomore guard Ashley Owusu who sank the layup to put No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball up by 10.
Despite slowing down in the second half, the Terps’ strong first-half performance allowed them to secure the season sweep against Minnesota and defeat the Gophers, 94-62, Saturday afternoon.
“It was another great 40 minutes of effort,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought our energy and intensity, for the most part, I really liked [and I] like how we came in.”
Minnesota started off first with a three-point shot from the Gopher’s leading scorer, Jasmine Powell. After Maryland missed their chance to answer, Minnesota scored again, but that run didn’t last long.
A layup from senior guard Katie Benzan sparked a 16-2 run for the Terps that lasted over five minutes.
As the Terps’ offense was heating up, so was the defense. As they forced Minnesota into a two-and-a-half-minute scoring drought, the Gophers turned the ball over three times in about three minutes, forcing Minnesota to call a timeout.
Out of the short break, Minnesota snapped their three-minute scoring drought but Maryland wasted no time as sophomore guard Diamond Miller hit her first three of the day.
Miller shined for the Terps in the first quarter as she led the scoring with seven points and shot perfectly. The New Jersey native shot 3-for-3 from the field, 1-for-1 from behind the arc and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
On the defensive end, the Terps were forcing Minnesota to turn the ball over on shot clock violations and stealing the ball away.
In the first quarter, Maryland shot 63% from the field and was 1-for-1 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Terps were holding the Gophers to 42% shooting from the field and just 1-of-3 from deep.
The Terps started the second frame as dominantly as they ended the first. Although they missed their first shot of the quarter, they forced Minnesota to miss their first two three-point attempts and they grabbed the defensive rebound.
About three minutes into the second quarter senior forward Chloe Bibby grabbed the rebound and as Miller received the pass, she went right up to hit her second three of the day to bring her point total to 14.
“I think I’m just developing to be a really good player,” Miller said. “So, I’m going to keep continuing to grow.”
Minnesota did not score a basket in the second quarter until three minutes in. Before they had a successful shot, the Gophers turned the ball over once.
To finish the second quarter, Maryland went slightly cold with no field goals in about three minutes, but the Terps held Minnesota to just one of their last eight field goals, allowing them to maintain their lead.
Headed into the locker room, the Terps had a 24-point lead as they shot 55% from the field, including three three-point shots. Maryland held the Gophers to 9-of-27 from the field and just 1-of-7 from behind the arc.
With about six minutes to go in the third quarter, as the Terps were hitting three of their last three field goals, redshirt sophomore guard Mimi Collins took an elbow to the face and was helped off the court into the locker room.
Maryland continued to push hard to protect its lead, though. The Terps held Minnesota on a two-minute scoring drought as they hit five of their last seven field goals.
With six and a half minutes to go, Owusu hit her 20th point of the day. Just about two minutes later, Miller hit her 20th. To end the third quarter, the two were the only Terps to be in double-digit scoring.
“I’m just staying confident and just poised,” Owusu said. “I’ll take an open shot when I have it but create for my teammates.”
For the second consecutive game, the Terps slowed down in the third quarter despite coming out strong in the first half. Against Illinois, Maryland won the third quarter, 23-11. Wednesday afternoon, the Terps won the third against the Gophers but by a smaller margin than the last two quarters. In the third, Maryland outscored Minnesota 21-15.
About three minutes into the final quarter, Minnesota was outscoring the Terps in the frame, 10-5, resulting in Frese calling a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Benzan attempted to shift the momentum in Maryland’s favor as she hit her first three of the day. However, Minnesota was hot, hitting six of its last six field goals as the teams continued to trade baskets.
But with a little under five minutes to go, Owusu hit a layup to spark a 7-0 run for the Terps. The run included layups from Benzan and Masonius, as well as a three-point shot from freshman guard Taisiya Kozlova, her second successful one from the behind the arc in this matchup.
Maryland finished the game with four players in double-digit scoring— Owusu, Miller, Benzan and Bibby. Owusu led the team with 24 points, followed by Miller who had 20, Benzan with 17 and Bibby with 10.
Three Things To Know
1. Diamond Miller came out ready to impact this game in a big way. With two and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Miller was already in double-digit scoring. The sophomore guard shot perfectly in the first quarter and ended the first half 4-for-6 from the field, 2-for-3 from the arc and 6-for-6 at the charity stripe. Last game against Nebraska, Miller scored just 11 points, six below her season average. Against the Gophers, Miller finished the game with 20 points.
“I’m just like more confident in my abilities and I’m playing really hard and not letting little things get to me,” Miller said on the personal growth she’s had throughout the season.
2. The Terps capitalized on Minnesota’s mistakes. The first time Maryland faced Minnesota, the Terps forced just six turnovers and scored 10 points off them. This time around, in the first half alone, Maryland forced eight turnovers and scored 12 points off the mistakes. This young Maryland team has improved defensively since they traveled to Minneapolis and Saturday afternoon, the Terps forced 13 turnovers and scored 23 points off the takeaways.
“They’ve done a great job learning from film,” Frese said. “We’re being a lot more aggressive —understanding our speed and length and our aggressiveness and you know where we can trap different areas.”
3. Mimi Collins left the game halfway through the third quarter. With about six minutes left in the third quarter, Collins was elbowed in the face and left the game with a towel over it. Before leaving the game, Collins had six points and two rebounds in the 16 minutes she was on the court. Miller leads the team on the boards, averaging 7.1 per game. Her absence on the court left a hole in the defense. Before she left the game, The Terps were outrebounding the Gophers 27-17. Maryland finished the game outrebounding Minnesota, but by a much smaller margin— 33-28.