No. 10 Maryland women's basketball cruised to its second straight victory over a Big Ten opponent Thursday afternoon, defeating Wisconsin 84-48 in a strong showing in College Park.
After collecting its first win in February, Maryland improves to a 9-1 record within the Big Ten and moves to 13-2 overall on the season. The Terps have yet to fall at home and now have a perfect 6-0 record in Xfinity Center.
“I thought we were really locked in and ready to play today,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “And you saw that from the tip, you saw that with the different runs that we had throughout this game.”
Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win over Wisconsin.
Brenda Frese ties the record for most wins all-time at Maryland
With the win over Wisconsin, Frese captured her 499th win as the head coach of the Terrapins, which ties Chris Weller for the most wins all-time at Maryland.
“For me, it’s special to do it with this team this season,” Frese said. “Because they’ve truly been just a pleasure to be able to coach all season long.”
Weller, a Hall of Famer who Frese will most likely be passing over in the record books soon enough, won 499 games in her 27 seasons from 1975 to 2002.
Frese has a chance to eclipse the 500 win mark in her 19th season in College Park. Since 2002, she has made Maryland a staple among the elite of Division I women’s college basketball. She has accumulated a 499-130 record while leading 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.
The Terps have amassed 13 wins on the season so far, still with six games left on the regular season schedule.
However, Frese will be forced to wait before being given the chance to get win No. 500, as the Terps aren’t scheduled to play until Feb. 14, when they take on Nebraska on the road.
“I think it’s amazing,” Collins said about Frese’s accomplishments. “Who doesn’t want to be coached under a GOAT? Learning from all her knowledge is just great, and also she’s a cool person, so it’s just the best of both worlds over here.”
Maryland’s defensive effort gave Wisconsin an uphill battle the entire way
With the nation’s top scoring offense, it can be easy to overlook just how good Maryland’s defense has been since its loss to Ohio State on Jan. 25. The Terps held the Badgers to just 48 points, which marks the second-lowest opponent point total of the season that Maryland has allowed. The Terps held Michigan State to just 52 points one game prior.
Maryland’s defense was swarming Wisconsin all afternoon and the Badgers’ highest-scoring quarter total came out to just 13. Just two Badgers scored in double-figures and this was also Wisconsin’s second-lowest point total all season.
“We said our defense kind of needed to catch up with our offense, and you’re starting to see defensively just the trust level being able to be there,” Frese said. “The more we can make teams uncomfortable, where they don’t know what wave is going to be coming at them, great things are in store for us.”
The Terps were relentless on the defensive side of the ball as seven of the eight active Terps on the roster recorded at least one steal. Diamond Miller and Katie Benzan collected three steals apiece to lead Maryland.
The Badgers also couldn’t figure out the Terps on-ball defensive scheme, which led to a dismal shooting performance. Maryland’s defensive presence forced Wisconsin to shoot 41.7% from the floor as a team and the Badgers managed just two made three-points on nine attempts.
One key focus for the Terps was to slow down sophomore Sydney Hilliard, who scored 19 on Maryland in the first matchup on Jan. 17.
Hilliard did find a good amount of success going 9-for-14 for 20 points, which was a game-high. However, the Terps did a stellar job with keeping the ball out of her hands for the most part. Benzan played a large role in shutting down Hilliard, as she was constantly guarding her throughout the game.
The Terps’ domination in the paint propelled them to victory
With Zoe Young sitting out due to soreness, Maryland found itself with just eight active players on the roster for its game against Wisconsin. The Terps haven’t been strangers to lacking roster depth this season, and this time the role players came through with a strong performance, especially in the paint.
Maryland did whatever it wanted under the basket, and the Terps eventually scored 42 points in the paint, just six less points than Wisconsin’s entire team point total. Collins and Faith Masonius both had stellar games, which carried Maryland in the paint.
After a nine point and nine rebound game against Michigan State, Collins played a very efficient 22 minutes on the floor against Wisconsin. The redshirt sophomore scored 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting, while also collecting three rebounds.
“For me, it’s just trying to stay consistent,” Collins said. “I’m just trying to be consistent as much as I can, whether that’s with rebounding, scoring, or just playing great defense for my team, anything it takes to win.”
Masonius, who is averaging around 21 minutes per game this season, had one of the more surprising performances of the afternoon. She saw added time on the floor against Wisconsin due to Maryland’s lack of depth, totaling 27 minutes for Frese. Masonius was the only player to record double-digit rebounds with 11. She finished with 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting as well. Masonius was swift on the offensive end, highlighted by a few smooth takes to the basket.
“[I’m] just coming to practice every day, trying to get 1% better and stacking the days,” Masonius said.
Overall, the Terps did a phenomenal job attacking and rebounding in the paint. Maryland rounded out its strong showing by out-rebounding the Badgers 40-23.
“I thought we did a phenomenal job of just sharing the basketball,” Frese said. “And that’s what a championship team looks like, is when you’re unselfish and making plays for one another.”