With six minutes to go in the third quarter, and Maryland already up 25, the Terps were pressing Michigan State. Katie Benzan plucked the ball away from a Spartan guard and threw it ahead to Ashley Owusu who finished the layup through contact. The entire Maryland bench, players and coaches included, exploded.
That type of energy and enthusiasm was on display from the opening tip to the final buzzer as Maryland (12-2, 8-1 B1G) got back in the win column after a dominant performance over Michigan State (9-3, 4-3 B1G).
“I thought this was one of our most dominant performances to date,” Head Coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought we took a lot of lessons here early to be able to learn from.”
The Spartans got off to a quick 7-3 lead to start the game, but then it was all Maryland. The Terps were back on their home floor for the first time since Jan. 10. Maryland began to press Michigan State and picked up their defensive intensity which allowed it to go on a 17-0 run in the first quarter to take a 27-15 lead after 10 minutes of action.
Maryland continued to assert themselves in the second quarter, hitting on 55% of its three-point attempts. The Terps went to the break with a 50-30 lead, which is the most points the Terps have scored in the first half against a Big Ten opponent this year. Seventeen of Maryland’s first-half points came off of turnovers.
The second half was no different as Maryland continued to bring the energy and build on its already commanding lead.
Frese’s squad was ready to compete coming off a loss to No. 14 Ohio State. Maryland had been sluggish on both ends of the floor in recent outings.
While the Terps lead the country in scoring averaging 92 points per game, Maryland had failed to reach that mark in four of its last five games. They certainly got back on track against the Spartans with a performance right on par with their season average. The Terps shot 50% from three and 49% from the field in the game.
While the offense was prolific, the defense was particularly stellar. Michigan State’s 52 points were its lowest point total of the season. Maryland forced 24 turnovers that led to 30 points.
Earlier in the season when these two teams met, Spartans star Nia Clouden went off for 32 points. This time around, she was held to just 15 points on nine shots.
“That was pride for us,” Frese said. “We wanted [Nia Clouden] to have to earn everything she got tonight and I thought the team did, collectively, a phenomenal job of doing that.”
When Maryland is at its best, everyone is contributing. On Thursday, the scoring came all over for the Terps potent offense. Eight players got in the scoring column and all nine active players saw time on the floor.
Owusu led the way with 20 points and five assists, with 11 of those points coming in the third quarter. Diamond Miller also had 20 points on 4-6 shooting from deep to go along with 10 boards. Chloe Bibby had 13 points, while Faith Masonius also chipped in 13 off the bench. Mimi Collins and Benzan each had nine points.
“I think today was a statement win that we’re still one of the best teams in the conference and we’re just here to stay,” Owusu said.