By Brandon Schwartzberg
Playing for the first time in a month, Diamond Miller returned to the court for just the third time on the young season. Miller played a season-high 21 minutes and provided an impactful return for No. 6 Maryland women’s basketball, notching 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks.
Miller was a key component in the Terps’ 98-52 steamrolling of Coppin State Tuesday morning, their first game since a loss to No. 1 South Carolina on December 12.
“The extra Christmas gift was having Diamond [Miller] back,” head coach Brenda Frese said following the game. “Being able to see her passion and enthusiasm and energy. Thought she just did a heck of a job.”
Maryland came out firing right from the jump, and Frese’s squad used a 12-0 run to take a 18-5 lead midway through the first quarter. The Terps finished the opening quarter up 28-13, led by Katie Benzan’s 11 points.
Shortly after, a 9-0 run ballooned Maryland’s lead to 37-13 with 8:30 remaining in the first half.
Maryland led 56-24 at halftime and didn’t slow down in the second half, as the Terps completely overpowered Coppin State on both sides of the ball.
The story of the first half was Maryland’s three point shooting, headlined by Katie Benzan. Benzan knocked down five of her game-high six three pointers in the first half and five of the team’s nine first half threes. The Terps shot over 50% from behind the arc in the first half as Benzan’s confident shooting helped invigorate the offense.
Maryland’s defense was also on point from the very beginning of the game, as Coppin State shot under 30% in the first half. The second half was a similar story, as the Eagles connected on under 10 field goals and only three looks from downtown.
Maryland’s hot shooting continued into the second half, as the Terps hit over 62% of their shots in the third quarter to grow their lead to 78-37 heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Terps cruised in the final quarter of action with the game in hand, allowing their starters to rest.
No Maryland player played over 28 minutes, and Frese went nine players deep in her rotation.
“You know, I play with two great point guards in Ashley [Owusu] and [Sellers], but it goes around to all of my teammates just to find me when I’m open and recently it’s been going down,” Benzan said.
Chloe Bibby, Angel Reese, Diamond Miller, and Faith Masonius joined Benzan in double figures as the Terps spread the wealth on offense, showcased by their 27 assists.
Reese secured her seventh double-double of the season, grabbing 14 boards to go along with 12 points in a homecoming game back in Baltimore.
“Bringing Angel [Reese] back home to Baltimore in front of so many family and friends, thought she did a terrific job,” Frese said.
Maryland enters Big Ten play 10-3 and the highest ranked Big Ten school in the AP Top 25. Each of the Terps’ three losses have come to top-ten opponents, as Frese scheduled a tough non-conference schedule entering the season to prepare her squad for grueling conference matchups.
Maryland will go on another long break as its next game won’t occur till after Christmas, when the Terps are set to face off against Illinois on the road December 30.
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