After a 3-0 roadtrip, No. 8 Maryland (21-2, 17-1 B1G) returned to the XFINITY Center defeating rival Penn State (9-14, 6-13 B1G) 88-61 to win the 2021 Big Ten regular season championship. This is the sixth time in seven seasons the Terps have clinched the Big Ten regular season crown.
“This one is just really special,” head coach Brenda Frese said. When you look at everything this team has had to endure this season is something special. To watch their trust and chemistry in a pandemic, the discipline they had to have and the sacrifices they’ve had to make is incredible. They earned this one and we’re definitely ready for the next step.”
For the first time this season the Terps had the luxury of having their families in attendance making the victory even more special.
“It’s very heartwarming to see my family and others out there,” forward Mimi Collins said. “We’re just one big happy family here at Maryland and hearing our family and just our family was a great thing.”
The Terps shot an efficient 52% from the field, while they held the Nittany Lions to 40% from the field. Maryland’s defense was pestering throughout as it caused 23 turnovers, which the Terps converted into 28 points. Throughout, Maryland dominated in the paint with 50 points in that area, while Penn State was only able to produce 28 points down low.
“When you look at these last 10 games of dominance, we have been looking ahead to March,” Frese said. “This is the first goal of many. We’re excited, we’re clicking, but it’s just about getting better everyday.”
The Terps had five players in double figures. Chloe Bibby led the team in scoring with 15 points and nine rebounds just shy of a double double. Diamond Miller added 14 points, while Ashley Owusu and Collins each added 12 points respectively.
Angel Reese also added 11 points in 16 minutes, continuing to acclimate herself after returning from her injury. Maryland also found success at the free throw with 18 attempts, while Penn State had just four attempts.
The offense continues to be a strong suit as the team finishes the regular season averaging 91.5 points per game, which is the highest total in the country and best in program history. The Terps also finished the regular season second in average three-point field goal percentage at 41.9%. Guard Katie Benzan led the way in that area as she shot a blistering 52.3% from behind the arc.
The Terps will travel to Indianapolis to begin their quest for another Big Ten Conference Championship beginning Tuesday on the Big Ten Network. As the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the Terps will have a bye in Round 1.