No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball rebounds with trounce of Penn State

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Early in the game, guard Ashley Owusu intercepted a Penn State pass and on the transition, forward Chloe Bibby found guard Diamond Miller, who finished at the rim for the first of her team-high 24 points. 

Miller’s return to the starting lineup for the first time this season helped power No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball (11-4, 3-1 B1G) past Penn State (7-6, 1-2 B1G), 106-78, snapping the Nittany Lions three game winning streak. The win extends Maryland’s winning streak against Penn State to 11 games.

“I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries this season,” Miller said. So it’s just fun to be out there and I want to give my best everytime I step on the court.” 

The Nittany Lions played in their first game since Dec. 18, after their last three games were canceled due to COVID-19 and showed their rust, scoring only 11 points in the first quarter and 17 points in the second quarter.

Once guard Ashley Owusu scored the team’s first basket off an offensive rebound, 26 seconds into the game, the Terps never trailed the rest of the night. 

“I loved our aggressiveness,” head coach Brenda Freese said. “I thought they really came ready to play and set the tone and never looked back.”

The Terps clicked on offense throughout the first quarter, scoring 26 points. 10 points came from Miller and forward Angel Reese collected nine rebounds. Owusu capped off the quarter with a pull up jumper to beat the buzzer. Owusu made another buzzer beater at the end of the second quarter with a three pointer. 

The offensive explosion continued throughout the rest of the game as the team shot 55% from the field and 48% from beyond the arc. The Terps spread the ball around well, allowing Miller, Reese, Owusu, Bibby and guard Shyanne Sellers to finish in double figures.

The Nittany Lions were also sloppy with their ball movement leading to 16 turnovers, which the Terps converted into 26 points.

“We were really unselfish and that’s what Maryland basketball looks like,” Freese said. 

Reese earned her ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Without Faith Masonius, who tore her left ACL in their overtime loss to Indiana on Sunday, Sellers and forward Mimi Collins performed admirably as Masonius’ main substitutes at the forward spot. 

The Terps defense also kept Penn State’s leading scorer, guard Makenna Marisa to only five points in the first half which all came in the first quarter. 

Maryland struggled with three point shooting in the team’s game against Indiana and in the first quarter going 3-15, but the team relentlessly splashed threes once Sellers scored midway through the second quarter. Sellers drained four threes and finished with a career high of 17 points. The Terps hit 47% of their threes on Thursday.

Katie Benzan, the team’s designated markswoman, had been struggling from beyond the arc going 1-5 in the team’s last game against Indiana on Sunday and her slump continued against Penn State. Benzan went 0-3 from beyond on Thursday before making her first of two total three pointers at the end of the second quarter to extend the Terps lead to 50-25 and added five more points in the third quarter. 

In the second half, Marisa exploded when she scored seven of Penn State’s first 10 points of the third quarter and finished the night with 29 points to lead the team, but Penn State’s first half deficit was too much for the team to overcome. 

Next, the Terps will travel to Minnesota to face the Gophers on Sunday at 3 p.m.