Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball dominated, falls to No. 11 Michigan, 69-49

By: Brandon Schwartzberg

Midway through the fourth quarter Michigan held possession of the ball up by 21. The Wolverines passed the ball around the perimeter, eventually finding the hands of Maddie Nolan. Nolan fired from beyond the arc and her shot found the bottom of the basket, her seventh three pointer of the contest.

No. 11 Michigan got out to an early lead in the first quarter and never looked back, as the Wolverines dominated in all aspects of the game en route to a 69-49 victory for their first ever win in College Park, snapping no. 8 Maryland women’s basketball’s 31-game home winning streak.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese coached the game with a heavy heart, as her father, Bill Frese, died Sunday at the age of 89. Prior to the start of the game, a moment of silence was taken to honor Frese’s dad.

“He’s my heart and a big piece of who I am as a coach and motivator. I’m relieved that he’s in a better place because he suffered at the end. Cancer sucks,” Frese said.

Both teams started hot on the offensive side of the ball, as a high tempo style of play was played early on. Michigan hit its first 7 shots, while Maryland connected on all but three of its first nine attempts to start the game.

The hot start continued for both sides, as the teams shot a combined 17/27 in the first quarter.

Nolan led the charge for the Wolverines in the early, as she cashed in on all three of her attempts from behind the arc.

One area of struggle in the first for the Terps was their turnovers, as they turned the ball over five times in the first period alone. As a result, Michigan scored 5 easy points off the Terps’ turnovers to help grow their lead to 10 after the first quarter, 26-16.

Maryland’s offense did not fare much better to start the second quarter.

The turnover issues continued, and Michigan’s defensive pressure continually forced Maryland to start their offense farther out than they wished, with the two coinciding to force the Terps offensive struggles. Coming into the game, Michigan ranked third in the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing just 59.6 points per game.

During the last 9 minutes of the second quarter, Maryland did not score a single point. The Terps missed all six of their field goal attempts and turned the ball over 8 times.

Fortunately for Maryland, Michigan also struggled on offense in the quarter, connecting on just one of their last nine shots. As a result, the Wolverines only grew their lead by five despite the Maryland scoring drought.

 At halftime, Michigan led 34-19.

Three second quarter points and 19 first half points were both season lows for Maryland, as their offense struggled to find an answer. Three points was also the fewest in a single quarter in program history.

Entering the contest, Maryland ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring offense. The Terps led Big Ten schools in free throw attempts as well. However, They didn’t get to the free throw line once in the first half, as Michigan’s defense quickly and abruptly shut down the Terps offense.

The third quarter was similar to the first two, as Michigan maintained control.

Maryland’s offensive struggles continued, as they shot a measly 12% from the field. Michigan’s offense, specifically Nolan, remained hot. She made two more from deep in the period, upping her game total to six. Coming into the game, the Wolverines averaged 4.8 3-pointers per game. After three quarters, they had almost doubled that, with 9 makes from beyond the arc.

At the end of the third, Michigan led 54-30. 

The tempo slowed down in the fourth quarter with Michigan up big and the end result all but wrapped up.

Nolan had a day to remember for the Wolverines, as she tied her career high with 21 points and made 7 shots from deep, a new career high. 

“Maddie shot the lights out. We have to find shooters, we knew she was a shooter coming in and it’s not good enough. We have to be faster on our rotations,” Chloe Bibby said. “Tonight we were a step away and they punished us for 40 minutes and it showed.”

Leigha Brown and Laila Phelia joined Nolan in double figures for Michigan, with 15 and 11 points respectively.

Not a single Terp reached double figures, as they finished the game with their lowest scoring output of the season.

“Michigan did a great job on defense,” Katie Benzan said. “They really prevented us from getting into our rhythm and flow.”

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