With about six minutes to go in the third quarter, No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball came out of a timeout searching to build momentum. As senior forward Chloe Bibby attempted a three, she shot too hard sending it off the rim straight out to sophomore guard Ashley Owusu at the top of the arc.
Owusu pulled in the ball saw the open lane and got to work driving to the right side of the basket as she drew the foul and sunk the layup. The drive was part of a 16-2 run for the Terps where they showcased both their offensive and defensive talents by finding the basket and holding Wisconsin scoreless for over eight minutes.
The first time Wisconsin and Maryland met this season, Maryland won 79-70. Head Coach Brenda Frese was frustrated with the team’s slow start and the trouble they had maintaining high energy the entire game.
In the second game of the series between these two teams, Maryland responded by doing just the opposite and not letting off the gas.
Prior to its dominant win against Michigan State, Maryland struggled to put together a full 40-minute game, but for the second consecutive time this season, the Terps showed high energy and effort throughout the entire matchup to pull out an 84-48 victory.
“The first time we played Wisconsin, we were pretty disappointed,” Frese said. “We thought it was pretty uncharacteristic but I love the response.”
The win against Wisconsin marks Frese’s 499th win at Maryland, tying the Maryland women’s basketball record held by Chris Weller for most wins as a head coach. Weller achieved this feat in 27 seasons with the Terps while Frese is in just her 19th year with the team.
“It is special. When you see different milestones, there’s not another team I’d rather do it with,” Frese said. “I have loved every single moment going through this season.”
The Terps dominated from the minute they stepped on the floor. Wisconsin won the opening tip, but as it was looking to pass the ball, senior forward Chloe Bibby got a hand on it, swiped the ball away and took it herself down to the left side of the hoop for the layup.
The Badgers answered with a pair of jumpers, but Maryland was determined to come out hot and went on a 14-2 run that lasted about four and a half minutes.
With six and a half minutes to go in the first quarter, the Terps were shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and were 2-for-2 from behind the arc, forcing Wisconsin to call a timeout.
Maryland didn’t let off the gas out of the timeout. As Wisconsin had the ball, Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu brought the pressure, forcing a travel to continue to hold Wisconsin scoreless.
“There’s great pride in the locker room. What I like is that we said our defense needed to catch up with our offense and we are starting to see defensively just the trust level and being able to be there,” Frese said.
Maryland’s defense continued to push by forcing four turnovers and scoring five points off the takeaways, but once Wisconsin hit their first field goal in over four and a half minutes, it went on a 6-0 run of their own.
To end the first 10 minutes of play, Maryland had a 10-point lead. The Terps shot 69% from the field in the first quarter, 50% from behind the arc and 100% from the charity stripe.
Although the Terps were outscoring the Badgers with six minutes left to go in the half, the second quarter started slightly slower.
Eight of Maryland’s 10 points scored in the first five minutes of the second quarter came from Collins. Bibby had the other two.
“For me, it’s about just trying to stay consistent,” said Collins. That’s just one thing that Coach B. has put in me and still, I’m just trying to be consistent as much as I can whether that’s with rebounding, scoring or playing great defense for my teammates— anything it takes to win.”
With a little over four and a half minutes to go in the half, senior guard Katie Benzan pulled in the rebound, took the ball down the left side of the court, centered herself behind the arc and hit the three for her first points of the day.
She may have been scoreless in the first quarter but with about a minute to go in the second quarter, Benzan hit her second triple of the day to extend Maryland’s lead to 23 points.
Maryland’s defense continued to shine. Until sophomore guard Sydney Hillard, Wisconsin’s top scorer, hit a buzzer-beater jumper, Maryland was on a 16-2 run that lasted over five and a half minutes.
The Terps held the Badgers to zero points in almost four minutes, bringing the pressure to make Wisconsin miss all but one of its last 11 field goals to end the half strongly. Maryland went into the locker room at halftime up 46-23 and shooting 58% from the field, including four threes. On the other side of the court, Maryland held Wisconsin to just nine successful field goals.
The advantage marked the 11th consecutive home game the Terps held the led at the half.
The momentum Wisconsin had from Hillard’s buzzer-beater shot carried over into the second half as it got on the board first to kick off a 7-0 run of their own, forcing Maryland to call a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Maryland came out hot on a 16-2 run of their own holding Wisconsin to zero points in over six minutes. In that same amount of time, the Terps forced eight turnovers.
“You continue to see the character of this team,” Frese said. “Phenomenal response out of it.”
While Wisconsin was struggling to find the basket, Maryland was not. To finish the third quarter, the Terps outscored the Badgers, 18-12, to extend their lead to 29 heading into the final quarter of play.
Benzan came out hot by hitting back-to-back threes for the Terps. Despite being scoreless in the first and third quarters, Benzan’s second and fourth quarter performances made up for it. The Harvard transfer shot 6-for-8 from the field, with all six buckets coming from behind the arc.
After forcing the team to end the last two and a half minutes without a score, Maryland held Wisconsin to just 48 points, 17 points below its average. All six players who scored for Maryland had double-digit performances. Benzan led the team with 18 points, all from behind the arc, followed by Owusu who had 17.
Three Things To Know
1. For the second game in a row, the Terps capitalized on turnovers. Maryland forced 25 turnovers and scored 30 points off them. Against Michigan State, the Terps forced 24 turnovers, breaking a previous season-high record of 21, originally set at Rutgers.
For the second consecutive game of the season, the Terps have proven to be lethal when can steal the ball away and make the most of those opportunities. In the matchup against Wisconsin, Maryland broke both the season-high records set last week against the Spartans.
2. Maryland showed they can find multiple different ways to win. Miller averages 17.5 points per game, the second-highest average on the team. Benzan averages 15.3 points per game, the third-highest on the roster. Wisconsin held Benzan scoreless and Miller to just two points in the first quarter, but the Terps still found a way to outscore the Badgers, 22-12, in the period thanks to offensive weapons Owusu and Bibby. In the third quarter, Wisconsin held Benzan scoreless once again but Owusu, Benzan, Bibby and Masonius made up for the loss.
“We’re just a team full of buckets. All 11 of us, we know how to score,” Collins said. “We all just share the wealth, we move the ball very, very well and we just find each other. I think it helps that off the court we love each other so much so on the court it makes everything easier.”
3. Faith Masonius showed her versatility. Playing 27 minutes off the bench, the sophomore forward had a double-double performance, recording 10 points and 11 boards, seven of those on the offensive side.
Masonius shot 5-for-6 from the field and had two assists and two steals. Masonius led the team in rebounds and was the only player to pull in more than 10 boards.
“[I’m] just coming to practice every day, trying to get 1% better and stacking the days,” Masonius said.