No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball clinches 20th victory at Northwestern

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

By Tyler Lochte

Maryland gave up just two points in the second quarter– none of which came from a Northwestern field goal. The entire quarter was part of a 12-plus minute run with no made field goals for the Wildcats. The two points allowed in the quarter mark the second-best defensive quarter in program history for Maryland.

Maryland women’s basketball’s strong defense led them to a commanding 79-54 win on the road in Evanston.

“We were disappointed in our first quarter, but I thought it was a terrific response after that. I thought the next three quarters we played extremely hard,” Frese said.

Maryland started strong, generating a  7-0 run. They would go on to score the first 7 points in every quarter of the game.

Northwestern started cold, missing its first six shots before a Wildcat run that featured them pouring in nine of their next 12, including a buzzer-beater by Jillian Brown to put the Wildcats in front by four heading to the second.

The upset-minded Wildcats saw its hopes of a second Big Ten win dashed in the second quarter when they were outscored 18-2 by the Terps, with their only two points coming from a pair of free throws by Jillian Brown over 9:30 in.

“That just shows how good our defense can be,” Miller said. 

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a team hold another opponent, especially a Big Ten opponent, to 2 points in a quarter,” head coach Brenda Frese said.

The Terps started the third quarter hot, but a furious Northwestern run punctuated by a Caroline Lau three cut the lead to just 12 with 4:20 to play in the quarter.

From then on, Maryland rode the hot hand of Chicago native Bri McDaniel, who had a plethora of support from family and friends in nearby Evanston. 

“It’s kind of hard being away from my family because we {are} so family-oriented,” said McDaniel., “Just being able to play for them was amazing.”

McDaniel was lights out from deep, making 4 of her first five from beyond the arc on her way to a career-high  14, adding four steals along the way in 21 minutes. 

Diamond Miller also put on a show in Welsh-Ryan Arena, leading all players with 18 points, nine boards, and seven assists. 

“What an All-American should do is just make that statement on both ends of the floor being aggressive,” Frese said.

Paige Mott led the way for the Wildcats with 15 points. Caroline Lau pitched in team-highs with five boards and four assists, while Jillian Brown scored nine with four rebounds.

Maryland has now won at least 20 games in 19 straight seasons under Brenda Frese, dating back to 2004. 

Northwestern drops to 8-16 following the loss and heads to Purdue on Sunday.
The Terps move to 20-5 and face Illinois at home on Sunday before a six-day break gives them time to rest. They then play their final three regular-season games at Michigan State, versus No. 5, and at No.13 Ohio State before the Big Ten Tournament tips off March 1st in Minnesota.