Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball ends skid, routs Northwestern, 87-59

Late in the third quarter, Maryland held possession of the ball looking to extend its lead. Off of a Northwestern turnover, the Terps pushed the pace before the Wildcats defense could get set. 

Great ball movement kept Northwestern on their toes and the ball eventually found Katie Benzan behind the arc. Benzan set her feet, fired, and connected on Maryland’s 12th 3-pointer of the game, a season high.

No. 12 Maryland women’s basketball returned home Sunday afternoon to take on conference foe in the Northwestern Wildcats. Both teams entered on two-game losing streaks, looking to avoid extending the streak to three.

After a close first quarter, Maryland separated itself  in the second and put the game out of reach in the second half as the Terps dominated Northwestern, defeating the Wildcats, 87-59.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese returned to the court after missing the Terps’ previous game against Ohio State. 

Frese’s squad was successful early in the first quarter from behind the arc, as all of the Terps’ 9 points to start the game came on 3-pointers.

The Terps connected on another deep ball later in the quarter, giving them four in the first quarter alone. Northwestern gave Maryland room from three point range as the Wildcats didn’t want Maryland’s size and strength to overpower them, and the Terps took advantage.

Maryland’s defense came to play early on. The Terps forced three Northwestern turnovers in the first and limited the Wildcats to 2-7 shooting from downtown. 

At the end of the first quarter, Maryland led 18-14.

Northwestern struggled in the early stages of the second quarter. The Wildcats missed their first five shots of the quarter and racked up three fouls within the first three minutes.

Maryland’s 3-point barrage continued in the second quarter. The Terps cashed in on four more looks from downtown to bring their first half total to 8. Maryland only averages 6 three pointers made per game thus far in the season.

Frese’s squad dominated both sides of the floor in the quarter, extending its lead to double-digits entering halftime. The Terps played as efficient of a quarter as any this season, given both the way the quarter went and doing so against a Big Ten school. 

Every single Terp to play minutes in the first half scored and held a positive plus/minus as it was a true team performance to grow their lead to 16.

At halftime, Maryland led 39-23.

Northwestern’s shooting struggles continued in the third quarter, as the Wildcats made just one of their first ten shots. However, Maryland’s offense started slow as well. The Terps only managed to increase their lead by three halfway through the quarter.

Maryland finished the third quarter strong, going on a 6-0 run. The Terps were a perfect 6-6 from behind the arc in the third, with four different players connecting from downtown. 

After the third, Maryland led 67-39.

Up by almost 30, Maryland was content to let their foot off the gas a little in the fourth quarter. Frese gave her younger players more minutes than usual with the game out of hand to provide them with valuable experience in a Big Ten matchup.

Maryland’s lethal shooting from deep was a key part of the Terps’ big win, as they shot an extremely efficient 58% from behind the arc.

Five different Terps reached double figures, led by Benzan’s 17.

Maryland will look to build on its performance next time out when the Terps take on Rutgers at home on Thursday.