No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball falters early in the Big Ten Tournament, loses to No. 5 Indiana

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

With about two minutes left, forward Angel Reese corralled a critical rebound with Maryland trailing 54-47. Reese passed to guard Ashley Owusu racing towards the basket but Owusu couldn’t handle the pass. That errant pass was one of Maryland’s 14 turnovers. 

No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball (21-8, B1G 13-4) struggled all afternoon against No. 5 Indiana’s (22-7, B1G 11-5) stingy defense, leading to their earliest Big Ten Tournament loss ever, as they fell 62-51 to the Hoosiers in the Quarterfinals. 

Indiana will take on top seed Ohio State on Saturday at 3:30 in the semifinals. 

The Terps’ loss marks the first time Maryland has failed to advance to the Big Ten Tournament title game since its entrance into the conference. 

“Obviously extremely disappointed … this is something for us we are not used to,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “I thought [Indiana] was the tougher team, they punched first and never looked back.” 

The Terps struggled all game shooting just 31.4% from the field and were 0-12 from beyond the arc — the first time since 2018 the Terps were fruitless from behind the arc. In a team that has five players averaging double figures Reese and Owusu were the only two players who scored more than four points. 

The game opened up as a defensive battle and lasted nearly the entire game. Indiana managed to widen the lead late in the first quarter when the Hoosiers scored buckets on three straight possessions to take a, 14-9, lead. 

“I’m not going to say we were rushing [shots],” Owusu said. “I just think we didn’t shoot the ball well.” 

Guard Shyanne Sellers converted a pull up jumper to beat the first quarter buzzer and make it a 18-13 game providing a spark that failed to carry over into the rest of the game.

Reese and Owusu, who came off the bench, started heating up midway through the second quarter converting four straight field goals for Maryland to provide some momentum. 

The momentum did not last long. Hoosiers forward Mackenzie Holmes dominated, scoring 10 first half points including scoring two layups right under the basket on back-to-back possessions with under two minutes left in the half. 

Holmes regained her pre-injury form, after missing a month of basketball, and finished the game with 17 points to lead the Hoosiers in scoring.  

“[Holmes] was the X-factor tonight,” Frese said. “She made us pay every single time the game got close.”

Maryland trailed 34-25 at halftime shooting just 30.6% from the field. The nine point halftime deficit was the largest halftime deficit in the Big Ten Tournament since 2018.

Guards Diamond Miller and Katie Benzan were held scoreless in the first half. Miller scored a layup off a fast break to open up the second half for her first basket of the afternoon. Meanwhile, Benzan did not manage a bucket in the second half.

“I don’t know just today [the ball] wasn’t falling,” forward Chloe Bibby said. “You have those games and you have to get rebounds and … find another way to win.” 

Owusu cut Maryland’s deficit to eight midway through the third quarter with a strong second chance layup off the backboard. 

Benzan stripped the ball away from Holmes on a triple team late in the third quarter allowing a fast break opportunity. Reese found Owusu racing to the basket from behind, scoring the layup making it a 41-39 game. But that was the closest Maryland would get. Indiana would soon pull away again. 

Maryland’s defense kept the team in the game. It forced the Hoosiers into 18 turnovers, but the Terps only turned those turnovers into eight points. 

Reese finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the final minute. 

Owusu continued to power Maryland’s offense, too, returning to her floor general position and adding critical baskets down the stretch, but no other Terp could pick up the slack. Off the bench, the junior point guard led all scorers with 21 points. 

The Terps will wait until March 13 to find out their seed when the NCAA releases the tournament bracket at 8 p.m.