B1G Game 4: Gophers Host Maryland (1-9-22)

Ignatius L Hoops

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BACK FOR ANOTHER DANCE

Unlike Rutgers, which lost their top five scorers from last season, Maryland returned their top eight scorers from a very good Terrapin team. Last season the Terps finished 17-1 in the B1G and 26-3 overall. After sweeping the Big Ten Tournament, the 2nd seeded Terps were bounced by 6th seeded Texas in the Sweet Sixteen 61-64. It was another disappointing conclusion to an NCAA tournament as Maryland’s best in the nation offense (91.3 ppg) was smothered by the Longhorns. Sigh, Gopher fans would love to be annoyed by losing an NCAA tournament game in any round.

For now, we just hope to watch another win over the Terrapins. Last season we were 0-2 against Maryland. The most competitive match-up was in mid-January. In Williams Arena, Minnesota trailed 50-43 at the half; Brenda Frese was disappointed. Then the Terps opened the second half with 10-0 run and never looked back on their way to a 90-73 victory. That win made Maryland 6-0 in conference play while Minnesota fell to 1-6. For Maryland, Diamond Miller scored 23, Chloe Bibby 22, and Katie Benzan (6-10 from three) 20. Minnesota countered with Jasmine Powell who scored 22 points, Sara Scalia 14, and Klarke Sconiers 13.

The return match in College Park was a Maryland rout. The Terps led 49-25 at half-time. Frese was pleased. The lead grew to 70-37 before Frese throttled back the offense for a 94-62 final. For Maryland, Ashley Owusu led all scorers with 24, Diamond Miller 20, Katie Benzan 17 and Chloe Bibby 10. Kadi Sissoko was the only Gopher in double figures with 16.

The second win over Minnesota on February 20th was Maryland’s fifth consecutive victory. The Terps winning streak stretched to 15 before the Longhorns ousted the B1G champs from the Big Dance.

THIS SEASON DID NOT START SWIMMINGLY FOR THE TERRAPINS

Presently, the Terrapins are 11-4 (3-1 in the B1G) and looking to mount a charge to another Big Ten title. Like Geno Auriemma, Brenda Frese doesn’t overthink her lineups. Three Terps have started every game: Angel Reese, Ashley Owusu, and Chloe Bibby. Mimi Collins started every game until the most recent win over Penn State when she was replaced by Diamond Miller. Katie Benzan has played and started in 11 games. Shy Sellers stepped into Benzan’s spot when Benzan was unavailable. Minnesota, after defeating Rutgers, which draws its lineups out of a helmet, will tip off against Maryland’s select cast of marquee stars.

Yes, the Terps have encountered some adversity. Their holiday trip to the Bahamas produced losses to North Carolina State 60-78 and Stanford 68-86. Maryland traveled to the Islands minus some key cogs. Both Katie Benzan and Faith Masonius missed the trip to the because of illness. And while Diamond Miller traveled with the team, she was unavailable because of a knee injury. Miller has played in five games and is returning to full song-as is Benzan. Unfortunately, Masonius returned only to be felled by a season ending ACL tear against Purdue.

It should be noted that before the trip to the Bahamas Maryland defeated Baylor 79-76 without Benzan and Masonius. With the lineup that will confront the Gophers, Maryland rolled over Penn State 106-78. There’s no reason to feel sorry for the tall and experienced Terps-not that anyone does.

THE ONLY PLAYERS TO WORRY ABOUT

We remember 6’3” guard Angel Reese from last season when she was bench bound for 14 games because of a foot injury. Reese cheered from the sidelines while pogoing around on her good foot. A double double danger, she’s just as tough and aggressive on the court. Last season, Reese played 5 Big Ten games averaging 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes/game. This season she’s the Terps leading scorer averaging 18.1 points and 10.8 rebounds a game.

6’3” guard Diamond Miller was a First Team All-Big Ten-member last season as a sophomore when she averaged 17.4 points and 6 rebounds in 28.5 minutes/game. This season Miller has only just returned to the lineup. A persistent knee injury has limited her to five games. After she put up solid numbers against Indiana (17 points 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 31 minutes), Frese returned her to a starting role. In two B1G games Miller’s averaging over 20 points/game. Minnesota will get her on the upswing.

6’0” guard Ashley Owusu remains, to me, women’s basketball’s most intriguing player. Get in her way at your own peril. Last season Owasu averaged almost 20 points a game while dishing out over 6 assists a game. As a result, Owusu was named the Ann Myers Drysdale Top Shooting Guard. This season she’s averaging 16.3 points and 4 assists. Diamond Miller’s return will pump up the assists numbers.

5’6” guard Katie Benzan is not currently the best three point shooter in the B1G (Taylor Mikesell and Jaz Shelley have better percentages); but 45% is scary enough. Last year she was the nation’s best three-point shooter. With Benzan on the court, the floor is spaced. Period.

Last season, 6’2” Forward Chloe Bibby was a key addition to the lineup after playing three seasons at Mississippi State. The Australian started every B1G game and was the third leading scorer in conference play. This season the small forward is up for more. Bibby played 40 minutes against Baylor, NC State and Stanford.

6’3” forward Mimi Collins is an example of the depth of experience in the Terps lineup. Collins is a red shirt junior who began her career at Tennessee. As a Terrapin, Collins started 24 games last season and all but one this season. Sure, she was called for a moving screen which clinched Indiana’s victory over the Terps; but opponents can’t count on her to make mistakes. This season, Collins has only 15 turnovers which are offset by her 15 steals. Last season, she hit double figures in 15 of 29 games and posted 3 double doubles.

6’1” swing player Faith Masonius tore her ACL in the Indiana game and is out for the season. This is a loss for the sometimes defense impaired Terrapins.

6’2” point guard Shy Sellers was ESPN’s #22 recruit in the 2021 class and was thrust into a starting role when Benzan was out. She’ll see even more action now that Masonius is out.


MARYLAND B1G RECORD (3-1):

Wins
: @ Rutgers 73-59, Purdue 86-76 and Penn State 106-78

Losses: @ Indiana 63-72 OT



Angel Reese Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rutgers1862224
Purdue1583264
South Carolina20102313
Coppin State12142252
Indiana22120355
Penn State15142231


Ashley Owusu Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rutgers1225305
Purdue2095360
South Carolina1160342
Coppin State727231
Indiana1031362
Penn State2045241






Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’3”F/GSoAngel Reese25.518.110.8
6’3”GJrDiamond Miller19.411.23.8
6’0”GJrAshley Owusu30.416.33.6
5’6”GGSKatie Benzan31.412.52.2
6’2”F/GGSChloe Bibby30.710.75.6


Others:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’3”FRJrMime Collins30.110.06.9
6’1”F/GJrFaith Masonius (Out for season)22.16.45.6
6’2”GFrShyanne Sellers26.28.53.7
6’1”GSoKozlova Taisiya14.91.51.7
6’2”FFrEmma Chardon7.61.61.0
 
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Ignatius L Hoops

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The Testudo Times previews the game:
When asked about the team's mindset following the injury to junior guard Faith Masonius, graduate guard Katie Benzan said, “we’re playing for her.” And the Terps did just that Thursday against Penn State.

Junior forward Diamond Miller led the way with a season-high 24 points; junior guard Ashley Owusu put up 20 after struggling against No. 6 Indiana; sophomore Angel Reese had yet another double-double; freshman Shyanne Sellers reached double-figure scoring for the seventh time this season and graduate forward Chloe Bibby added 12.

“A terrific response obviously from our team,” head coach Brenda Frese said after the Penn State win. “I thought they set the tone on both ends of the floor to start the game.”

No. 10 Maryland now heads for Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers coming off of a strong defensive showing.

“It starts with our defense,” Frese said. “I thought we set the tone right away. We were really aggressive and in the passing lanes. Offensively, we really pushed [the] tempo. We were really unselfish, moving the basketball, and that’s really what Maryland basketball looks like.”

The contest versus the Golden Gophers is set for Sunday with a 3 p.m. tipoff at Williams Arena and will be streamed on the Big Ten Network.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-7, 1-2 Big Ten)​

2020-21 record: 9-15 (7-11 Big Ten)

Head coach Lindsay Whalen is in her fourth season in charge of her alma mater. During her four years in Minneapolis, Whalen became the program’s all-time leading scorer, logging 2,285 points. She also finished second all-time in assists and third all-time in steals.

After a prolific career in the WNBA where she won four titles, was a five-time all-star and three-time All-WNBA first-teamer, among other accolades, Whalen returned to Minnesota to lead the program in a new direction after the departure of Marlene Stollings. Since her arrival, Whalen has a 52-44 overall record but has struggled in Big Ten play, going 27-42

Whalen did not coach against Rutgers as she had successful, emergency appendectomy surgery, per a release from the program and was recovering. Rather, associate head coach Carly Thibault-Dudonis served as the acting head coach. The Gophers won that matchup, a bounce-back win after falling to Drake in December.

Players to know​

Sara Scalia, junior guard, 5-foot-10, No. 14 — As one of the leaders for her team, Scalia pours in 15.1 points per game for the Golden Gophers. She also leads the team in three-point field-goal percentage, knocking down 46 of her 108 attempts (42.6%). Scalia has the fifth-best shooting percentage in the conference, and her ability to knock down shots from behind the arc gives Minnesota their very own Katie Benzan (third-best from three).

Jasmine Powell, junior guard, 5-foot-6, No. 4 — Second only to Scalia in scoring, Powell is averaging 13.5 points per game. Not only is Powell a high-leverage scorer, but she is also an elite distributor and playmaker — the Detroit native leads the team with 5.7 assists per game. Finding open teammates is what Powell does, and the electric guard ranks third in the Big Ten in helpers.

Kadi Sissoko, redshirt junior forward, 6-foot-2, No. 30 — Sissoko’s 10.7 points per game are third on the team, and the Paris native grabs 5.7 boards per game. In addition to leading the team on the glass, Sissoko is a top-20 rebounder in the conference and can cause problems in the paint.

Strength​

Three-point shooting. Having a 43% three-point shooter never hurts, but Minnesota is more than just Scalia when it comes to scoring from the outside. Four Golden Gophers have attempted at least 56 threes — Scalia (108 tries), Deja Winters (78), Gadiva Hubbard (63) and Powell (56) — and the lowest shooting percentage of those four is 36%. With four perimeter shooters, Minnesota could give Maryland trouble from deep.

Weakness​

Offense. The Golden Gophers currently rank 10th out of 14 Big Ten teams in terms of points per game. Averaging just 68.8 points a match, Minnesota does not have an elite scoring option. Yes, Scalia’s 15 points a game help, but Minnesota struggles with really opening games up on the offensive side of the ball. The lack of firepower could prove challenging against the Terrapins, a team with several players who can go off for 30 points.

Three things to watch​

1. Will the Minnesota chill cool down Maryland’s red-hot offense? After stalling for 63 points against Indiana, the No. 10 team in the country bounced back against Penn State, putting up 106 points courtesy of double-digit scoring from five players. On the flip side, Minnesota’s defense held Rutgers to 49 points in its most recent game.

For Maryland, Miller made her first start of the season on Thursday, and the all-conference guard will look to continue her strong run of play since returning from injury in Minneapolis.

“We have a great group of girls, and I love to play with them,” Miller said. “So just to play with my teammates again was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed it.”

2. Can Angel Reese get her 10th double-double on the season? Against the Lady Lions, Reese collected her ninth double-double of the season. The Baltimore native put up 15 points and 14 rebounds. Not only was Reese a force on the defensive glass, but she also had eight offensive rebounds, which added to her nation-leading 5.2 offensive boards a game. Minnesota isn’t the tallest team, so Reese could be in line to notch her 10th double-double of the year.

“She’s so active around the rim,” Frese said of Reese. “[It] gives us a lot of great opportunities. I think that’s a hard scout when you don’t know when she’s gonna go up and finish the layup versus when she’s been doubled and tripled teamed to being able to kick it out to a wide-open shooter.”

3. Maryland has been dominant in the Big Ten since joining the conference, will that continue against Minnesota? Since the Terps joined the Big Ten in 2014, in conference games, the Terps are 131-16 (.891). Maryland is also 103-1 when holding their league opponents to 70 points or less. An important note here: Minnesota averages under 70 points a game.

Also, in the past four seasons, Maryland is 62-2 when scoring 80 points or more. This year, the Terps average 83.1 points per game and outscored the Gophers last season 184-135 through two meetings.
 

tripledouble

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The Terps are loaded with talent. I'm not the biggest Brenda fan and I think her teams have often underperformed in March, but she is a top-notch recruiter.
 




GringaGopher

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No Powell today will make things more difficult. This puts so much more pressure on Scalia.
 


Katogopher

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Hope things go well for Powell, they really missed her for the Nebraska game. Too bad Borowicz has not been available this season to give the Gophers more depth.
 




CoachJD

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Not sure why Caroline Strande is not playing in this one. She can add some athleticism and scoring against Maryland. Gophers are hanging in there so far.
 


whalenfan

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Not sure why Caroline Strande is not playing in this one. She can add some athleticism and scoring against Maryland. Gophers are hanging in there so far.
Shes not in uniform with a boot on her foot, has been that way for the last 2 games
 

Katogopher

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Liked their fight in the first half, Terps just have so many weapons you cannot dribble off your foot without the Terps capitalizing off it. Winters came to play and like Rose‘s energy. Hope they keep it close in the second half
 




Ignatius L Hoops

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Carly could use another assistant on the bench, she keeps everyone busy.
 

Ragnor

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Not sure why Caroline Strande is not playing in this one. She can add some athleticism and scoring against Maryland. Gophers are hanging in there so far.
She had a walking boot at the last game and she had a heavy wrap on the ankle at this game. I would guess she is a couple weeks out from playing again (at least) by the looks of things.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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She had a walking boot at the last game and she had a heavy wrap on the ankle at this game. I would guess she is a couple weeks out from playing again (at least) by the looks of things.
Yes. She was walking gingerly on her right ankle.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Some Brenda:

“[Minnesota was] really ready to play, but really proud of our response,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “I mean, obviously to go on the road, and I thought we came out early in the first quarter, then a terrific response by Minnesota. But, I thought our second half is where it was at. We changed up our defense, we were really unselfish when we’re sharing the basketball like we were and just some great plays.”

“Deja Winters was fantastic, we had no answer for her in the second quarter,” Frese said. “She got red hot, obviously from the three-point line. We were disappointed that she had 15 points at halftime.”

“I thought she was allowing the game to come a little bit more to us, I thought the ball was sticking in the first half,” Frese said of Reese. “...Needing her to play on both ends of the floor. She’s our anchor defensively, so got to be able to have both ends of the floor. But, terrific response. I thought she was super efficient to go 9-for-11, and we need her to be efficient, defend, rebound. Terrific response.”
 

Gophers112233

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I know we didn't win today.. but

Winters finally got going again, when she is on she is ON.. she had four straight 3's in the 2nd quarter..

Scalia 3 point shot was off, but she found a way to get to the basket and even though some of her running floaters look odd they usually go in.

Rose played well I thought missed a few lay ups she usually has made this season, but 12 rebounds!!

Kadi for the first time in awhile looked like she was one of the best recruits in her class.. played under control and made some timely shots.. wish she was a bit more aggressive but happy with how she played

funny enough we scored more points then IU did against Maryland and that game even went into overtime last Sunday..

if we play like we did today for the rest of the season, we should be competitive in most games which hopefully equals more wins.

one thing is for sure.. Carly can COACH..
 

MNGirlsHoops

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MN played a solid 40 min, you have to give Maryland credit, every time we made a run, they hit a big 3 when our D was pretty good. They stretched us out, especially Baily and then if they missed they had to much size on the boards. We had 4 starters contribute and that is a great sign.
Its clear Carly can coach and it seems like her message around execution seems to resonate and the kids responded. I still think Whalen was the right hire at the time, but as we saw against Rutgers and Maryland, this team has another level and that is where coaches come into play. I'm not sure if it was Whalen's decision to go zone or Carly, but it was a great move. We'll see how this plays out.
I would guess Carly will get looks after the season, how committed is she to Whalen... Doesn't matter, if the right HC opens up she is gone and then what..
 

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👀 Is Carly out coaching Whalen? Is the team suddenly playing harder? Or is this just a coincidence? I’m sure everyone is seeing this change.
 

walleye

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Maybe, the team has been trying hard to "Win one for the Gipper?"
 

Katogopher

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Even tho the Gophers lost, I found the game rather entertaining. I never felt like the Gophers were gonna pull this one out but I never felt like they were getting blown out either. A loss is a loss but I didn’t find myself frustrated or angry with this loss as with other losses this season. They seemed more composed and focused on a game plan. Perhaps my expectations have been lowered but maybe just maybe the team is starting to jell.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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👀 Is Carly out coaching Whalen? Is the team suddenly playing harder? Or is this just a coincidence? I’m sure everyone is seeing this change.
I don't think it's a coincidence. There's more attention to detail-especially on defensive positioning. The player rotation appears less random and there's more attention to playing time/resting. And I think the offense is a bit more perimeter oriented.

Hell, we even ran a nifty go-to-the-bucket play out of a time out instead of our usual inbound and then set up.

It's also just two games and I'm really searching hard for some positives.
 

bball_craz_31

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Recruits/High School players that were in a attendance:

All four 2022 commits sat about 2 rows up to the right of the gopher bench.

Taylor Woodson- 2023 (offered)
Aaliyah Crump- 2025 (offered)
Tori Oehrlein- 2026 (offered)
Kendra Harvey 2025
 

ecoperson

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I don't think it's a coincidence. There's more attention to detail-especially on defensive positioning. The player rotation appears less random and there's more attention to playing time/resting. And I think the offense is a bit more perimeter oriented.

Hell, we even ran a nifty go-to-the-bucket play out of a time out instead of our usual inbound and then set up.

It's also just two games and I'm really searching hard for some positives.
It is highly unlikely that Carly has been doing anything different. That is not the role of someone who is filling in an emergency. You maintain the status quo and keep the train moving until the engineer is back at the helm. I imagine that the players are simply playing hard and growing.

The players WERE very excited for Carly after the win at Rutgers so Carly may be playing the good cop to Whalen's bad cop. Only speculation... I certainly don't know.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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Even tho the Gophers lost, I found the game rather entertaining. I never felt like the Gophers were gonna pull this one out but I never felt like they were getting blown out either. A loss is a loss but I didn’t find myself frustrated or angry with this loss as with other losses this season. They seemed more composed and focused on a game plan. Perhaps my expectations have been lowered but maybe just maybe the team is starting to jell.
agreed.... this wasn't a fluke, this team has the ability.. I didnt feel we ran that goofy high ball screen every time down, I didnt think Scalia and Winters got stuck in the dreaded corner time after time...
 





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