It was only fitting that in her first start of the season, Diamond Miller scored the 100th point of the game for the Terps as she cashed in on an easy layup with under three minutes left in the game.
No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball returned home Thursday night as they took on Penn State. The Terps looked to rebound following a tough overtime loss at No. 6 Indiana on Sunday, while the Nittany Lions played their first game of the new calendar year.
Maryland got out to a fast start early and never looked back, as the Terps cruised to a dominant 106-78 win.
“I thought it was a terrific response from our team. I thought they set the tone on both ends of the floor to start the game. I loved our aggressiveness and unselfishly loved the positive assist to turnover ratio,” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese.
Penn State hadn’t played since December 18th, with their last three games getting postponed or cancelled, resulting in an understandable slow start against Maryland. The Nittany Lions missed six of their first eight shots and turned the ball over three times over the first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest.
Maryland capitalized on those turnovers, as they scored on each extra possession en route to six easy points.
Maryland finished the first quarter on fire, scoring 13 of the final 17 points. The ball movement was excellent, and the Terps searched for and found every possible mismatch.
In her first start this season, Diamond Miller started the game exceptionally well, as she led all scorers after the first quarter with 10 points. Miller has battled a knee injury since the beginning of the season, playing in just her fifth game of the year. Miller started in all 29 games played last season.
“I’ve been dealing with a lot of injuries this season so it’s just fun to be out there and I want to give my best every time I step on the court,” Miller said.
Maryland outscored Penn State 24-8 in the paint in the first quarter, as the Terps’ size dominated the Nittany Lions. Angel Reese secured 9 rebounds, four on the offensive side of the floor en route to 6 second chance points.
At the end of the first, Maryland led 26-11.
Penn State started the second quarter better than the first, as the Nittany Lions made four of their first six shots in the quarter.
With the second quarter just over halfway through, Maryland used a 10-0 run to extend their lead to over 20 points as Penn State suffered through a scoring drought to end the half.
Six different Terps scored in the second quarter, led by Ashley Owusu’s seven. In comparison, no Nittany Lion scored more than 3.
At the half, Maryland led 53-28. Owusu, Miller, and Chloe Bibby all reached double-figures while shooting over 60% from the floor. Owusu needed the good half as she’s struggled the past three games, shooting 24% (10/41) from the field coming into the contest.
Reese notched 11 rebounds in the first half, her ninth game with ten or more rebounds this season. Reese did however struggle shooting the ball, as she shot only 2-8 in the first two quarters of play.
Penn State shot 37% from the floor and 26% from three. In addition, the Nittany Lions didn’t get to the free throw line once. Maryland’s constant defensive pressure resulted in an inability for Penn State to create rhythm on offense, and turned the ball over 12 times as a result, in just one half of play.
Maryland started the second half slow as just one of their first six shots found the bottom of the basket. Meanwhile, Penn State made four of their first six shots to open up the third quarter.
The Terps offense picked up as they then made four of their next five attempts, cashing in on two baskets from behind the three point arc. Penn State’s offense remained hot, as the Nittany Lions made three three-pointers before the first media timeout of the quarter.
Maryland finished the third quarter with 81 points, more than they scored all game against Indiana. At the end of the third, the Terps led 81-50.
Up by over 30, Maryland was content to let their foot off the gas a little in the fourth quarter. Still, the Terps reached the 100 point mark for just the second time this season.
“Great start in the right direction no question. We looked more like ourselves. Everybody was able to share the basketball and make easy plays for one another,” Frese said.
5 different Terps finished in double-figures, Miller leading the way with 24. Reese notched her ninth double-double of the season, as she finished with 15 points and 14 boards.
Maryland will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month as the Terps take on Minnesota on Sunday.