No. 2 seed Maryland women’s basketball rolled past No. 7 seed Alabama, 100-64, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The win marked the seventh time this season that the Terps have hit 100 points in a game, which is tied for the third-most in a season by a men’s or women’s team in program history and the highest for any team since 1975-76.
Led by the bench, five Terps finished in double-digit scoring and the Terps had 22 assists on 42 field goals. Additionally, Maryland shut down Alabama’s Jordan Lewis after she scored a career-high 32 points against No. 10 seed North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. On Wednesday afternoon against the Terps, Lewis had just eight points and only two at halftime.
With the win, the Terps advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2017, where they will face No. 6 seed Texas on Sunday at 9 p.m.
Here are my three biggest takeaways from the victory.
Every player on Brenda Frese’s roster is an offensive weapon
Despite losing all five starters to graduation and the transfer portal, this Maryland team has shown that it doesn’t matter if it had no experience prior to this season playing together. Maryland leads the nation with its scoring offense, averaging 91.5 points per game coming into this one.
In this game against the Crimson Tide, nearly half of Maryland’s 100 points came from the bench. Freshman forward Angel Reese led the team with 19 points while shooting 8-for-12 from the field, also chipping in five rebounds and two assists. The Baltimore native was followed by sophomore forward Faith Masonius who had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field, along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“[Faith is an] unsung hero,” Frese said. “I mean, she’s just always been behind the scenes not caring who gets the attention but just doing all the hard-working, gritty things, and so it was poetic justice to be able to see her have her moment today.”
Maryland’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Ashley Owusu, did not score her first points until there were just about two and a half minutes left in the first half and the Terps had already put up 46 points. Owusu finished the game with 10 points and eight assists.
“[Ashley] was the ultimate floor general,” Frese said. “When the game started, I mean, she was able to give a lot of assistance to her teammates and we didn’t need her scoring.”
The Terps had nine players score at least three points, and eight of those players scored nine or more points.
On top of having the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, Maryland also has the second-best three-point field goal percentage (41%) and the third-best field goal percentage (50%). Against the Tide, the Terps shot 61.6% from the field and 41.2% from behind the arc.
“Every single one of our players on our team can score, so it’s really just important that we share the ball and just find the open man, the best shot on the court, the highest percentage shot,” Masonius said. “And if we keep doing that we’re just, we scorin’ 100 points, you’re seeing it yourself.”
The Terps extended their win streak to 15 games and they still look energized
After a loss to then-No. 14 Ohio State in late January, the Terps have embodied their season mantra, “All gas, no brakes.” Although Maryland only dropped one game early in the season before the loss to the Buckeyes, it seems that the conference defeat ignited a fire with this team.
Frese said the phrase, which the team repped on its warmups before this matchup was coined by Reese when she was injured on the sidelines.
“They’ve really bought in, you know, understanding that and today was also about emptying the tank,” Frese said. “Kind of going along with that theme, we wanted to play hard and compete for 40 hard minutes.”
In this win streak, the Terps have scored 100 points or more four times. They also went on to earn sole possession of the Big Ten regular-season title as well as the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament that they ended up winning the championship against Iowa, 104-84.
“It’s definitely been a great mindset for our kids going in conference play, just having dominating wins and not playing the team but playing to our standard,” Frese said.
Against Alabama, Maryland had a dominant first quarter performance, outscoring the Tide 30-9. But, true to form this season, the Terps did not let up outscoring Alabama in the remaining three frames.
The Terps also kept the pace up the entire game, scoring 16 fast break points and scoring 33 points off 19 Alabama turnovers. Headed into the final 10 minutes of the game, Maryland had a 33-point lead.
“It’s not over until the clock expires after the fourth quarter,” Reese said. “So we emptied the tank today, played 40 minutes and it felt really good to win, to go to the Sweet Sixteen.”
The Terps look like a true contender
It’s looked like this all season, but now that we are in March it’s become even clearer that the way this Maryland team plays makes them a serious contender.
The 53-point margin of victory the Terps had over Mount St. Mary’s is the largest by any team, men’s and women’s, in an NCAA Tournament game in program history, and the 36-point victory margin over Alabama marks the first time in program history that the Terps defeated consecutive tournament opponents by 30 points or more.
“I think every game we come out, we make a statement,” Masonius said. “We’re a great team and whether other people see that or not, we know that in our hearts. We like to lay low, keep our heads down and just do the work.”
Additionally, the 100 points the Terps scored against Alabama marks the second-most points scored by Maryland in the NCAA Tournament under Frese. The most points scored were in 2017 against Bucknell.
Here’s how those margin of victories stack up against the No. 1 seeds and other No. 2 seeds:
- No. 1 seed Stanford: 43-point win over No. 16 seed Utah Valley, 11-point win over No. 8 seed Oklahoma State
- No. 1 seed South Carolina: 26-point win over No. 16 seed Mercer, 17-point win over No. 8 seed Oregon State
- No. 1 seed UConn: 43-point win over No. 16 seed High Point, 36-point win over No. 8 seed Syracuse
- No. 1 seed NC State: 21-point win No. 16 seed North Carolina A&T, 12-point win over No. 8 seed South Florida
- No. 2 seed Texas A&M: four-point win over No. 15 seed Troy, two-point overtime win over No. 7 seed Iowa State
- No. 2 seed Baylor: 49-point win over No. 15 seed Jackson State, 42-point win over No. 7 seed Virginia Tech
- No. 2 seed Louisville: 31 point win over No. 15 seed Marist, nine-point win over No. 7 seed Northwestern
- No. 2 seed Maryland: 53-point win over No. 15 seed Mount St. Mary’s, 36-point win over No. 7 seed Alabama
Despite having the No. 1 scoring offense in the country and putting up the numbers they have been all season, the Terps have been looked at as more of an underdog.
However, as the Terps advance to the Sweet Sixteen, they don’t let that any of that phase them. In their minds, there is still work to be done as they have their sights set on making it to the title game.
“We’re always going to be humble and hungry. We’re not going to stop until the job is fully done and like to that to us that is a National Championship,” redshirt sophomore forward Mimi Collins said. “So I would say that we’re grateful. We love it here. We appreciate the moment but also the job is just not done yet.”