No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball struggles offensively but holds off Wisconsin on the road

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Early in the fourth quarter, guard Katie Benzan fired a three pointer from the right wing. It hit the back of the rim, Wisconsin got the rebound and took it down the other way. The Terps defenders hustled back and forced a traveling violation on Wisconsin (3-8, 0-8 B1G Ten) in transition. 

That was the story all afternoon for Maryland, as it struggled to get anything going offensively and relied on its defense to uplift them. Maryland came away with a nine-point road win, 79-70, to improve to 11-1 on the season and 7-0 in Big Ten Play. 

Maryland’s 79 points is the lowest scoring total in a win for the Terps this season. Averaging the second most points in the country heading into this matchup, at 94 points per game, Maryland shot just 38% from the field and 29% from three.

While Wisconsin is in last place in the Big Ten and Maryland is in first, the gap certainly did not feel that large in this Sunday matinee. Wisconsin jumped out to an early 8-2 lead before Maryland responded with a 9-0 run. At the end of the first, Maryland led by seven. 

The Badgers outscored the Terps in the second quarter and cut the lead to just four, 39-35, at the half. Late in the second quarter, when Wisconsin cut the lead to four, Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese called a timeout and was visibly upset. She used the timeout to tear into her team’s poor play. 

“Too many breakdowns when you talk about defensively for us, getting beat, putting them at the foul line once they were in the bonus,” Frese said. “It was just a night that there were just a lot of disjointed plays for us that are very uncharacteristic.”

The Terps extended the lead in the third quarter, but the Badgers refused to go away on their home floor. What was a 17-point game at one point in the fourth, became a seven-point game late in the final frame. Maryland had a difficult time putting away the Badgers, who displayed their best performance in Big Ten play this season, as their first conference win of the season continues to elude them. 

While shooting was a problem for the Terps, they dominated the glass. Maryland outrebounded the Badgers 44-29. Mimi Collins was the spark on the boards, finishing with 17 rebounds to go along with 13 points. 

“I’m watching film,” Collins said. “A lot of times I dont jump, which is kind of odd, but the ball ends up coming to me and I just told myself that I needed to jump.” 

Despite the down night on the offensive end, all five starters still finished in double-digit points. Chloe Bibby was dominant in the first half, scoring 16 of her 17 points in the first 20 minutes. Diamond Miller also added 17 of her own. Benzan struggled shooting the ball, but still finished with 12 points. Ashley Owusu contributed 14 points, but filled the stat sheet in other categories with six boards and five assists. 

Maryland heads back to College Park with two more Big Ten road wins and extends its winning streak to 10 games.