Maryland (20-2, 16-1 B1G) came out on fire in Ann Arbor and made a statement to the Big Ten and the rest of the country in a dominant, 88-63, win over Michigan (13-4, 8-4 B1G).
With the win over Michigan, Maryland clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and secured the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament, which is scheduled to begin on March 9.
“It feels great [to clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title],” Ashley Owusu said. “We lost all our five starters last year so to be able to come in with a basically new team and put up the numbers and play as a team is great.”
Maryland was on a mission from the opening tip against the Wolverines. While all season, Terp fans have seen Maryland pile on lesser opponents, head coach Brenda Frese’s group proved they are up for any task. Coming into the matchup, Michigan sat right behind the Terps in the Big Ten standings in second place with only three losses.
However, on Thursday afternoon the gap between the two teams seemed much greater than that. Maryland jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and never looked back. In the first quarter, the Terps poured it in from long range, shooting 71% from the field ending the opening quarter with a 14-point advantage.
“We talked about this being our toughest game this year,” Frese said. “Michigan’s a top 15 team. They’re super, super talented, but I thought our mentality from the tip, we were ready to go.”
Frese has gone to her press throughout the year in an attempt to speed up teams and create easy opportunities for her offense. Maryland’s press, with Diamond Miller at the top, did just that. Michigan turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, resulting in 20 Maryland points.
That trend continued throughout as the Terps finished with 29 points off turnovers a season high.
“We’re playing both ends of the floor,” Frese said. “Every game is going to be different. Sometimes your offense isn’t going to be there… so the fact that we’re finding so many different ways to be able to win a game, and especially on the road, is really exciting for what lies ahead.”
The Terps never took their foot off the gas in the second half, continuing to dominate on both ends of the floor. The No. 1 offense in the country showed out in a marquee matchup between two top 15 teams in the country.
Maryland shot a whopping 70% from beyond the arc against the Wolverines, continuing its success from deep all season as the No. 2 team in the nation in three-point percentage, on pace to break the program record.
The engine behind the Terps, Owusu, led her team against the Wolverines, as she has all season. She finished with 22 points and five rebounds.
Diamond Miller chipped in with 17 points. Mimi Collins and Faith Masonius also reached double figures with 10 and 12, respectively.
After a ninth straight win, Maryland will have just one game left in the regular season before postseason play gets underway. The awards are beginning to pile in for Maryland as its historic season comes to a close.
Earlier this week, Owusu was named one of five finalists for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which honors the nation’s top shooting guard. Frese was also named as a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award. She has never won the award throughout her time at Maryland.