- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
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:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Rutgers 18 6 2 22 4 Purdue 15 8 3 26 4 South Carolina 20 10 2 31 3 Coppin State 12 14 2 25 2 Indiana 22 12 0 35 5 Penn State 15 14 2 23 1
Ashley Owusu Last Six Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Rutgers 12 2 5 30 5 Purdue 20 9 5 36 0 South Carolina 11 6 0 34 2 Coppin State 7 2 7 23 1 Indiana 10 3 1 36 2 Penn State 20 4 5 24 1
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’3” F/G So Angel Reese 25.5 18.1 10.8 6’3” G Jr Diamond Miller 19.4 11.2 3.8 6’0” G Jr Ashley Owusu 30.4 16.3 3.6 5’6” G GS Katie Benzan 31.4 12.5 2.2 6’2” F/G GS Chloe Bibby 30.7 10.7 5.6
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’3” F RJr Mime Collins 30.1 10.0 6.9 6’1” F/G Jr Faith Masonius (Out for season) 22.1 6.4 5.6 6’2” G Fr Shyanne Sellers 26.2 8.5 3.7 6’1” G So Kozlova Taisiya 14.9 1.5 1.7 6’2” F Fr Emma Chardon 7.6 1.6 1.0