The Washington Post
The Maryland men’s team knocks off No. 12 Illinois, earning its second Big Ten win over a ranked foe.
MARYLAND 83, PURDUE 46
The Maryland women’s basketball team spent the first six weeks of this season establishing itself as an offensive juggernaut, and it entered Sunday’s game against Purdue with the second-highest scoring average in the nation. Against the Boilermakers, however, it was all about defense.
The Terrapins extended their winning streak to eight games with an 83-46 victory at Xfinity Center. Purdue’s 46 points were the fewest allowed by a Maryland team since it held Minnesota to 44 in the regular season finale last March. The Boilermakers shot 24.1 percent from the field — the lowest shooting percentage by a Big Ten team against Maryland since the Terps joined the conference in 2014.
The victory, along with road wins over No. 19 Indiana and No. 23 Michigan State in the past seven days, gives the No. 12 Terps (9-1, 5-0 Big Ten) a bolstered case to move up in the Associated Press rankings that will be released Monday.
“One of our most complete 40-minute efforts,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “Definitely [the defensive] effort. It’s been an area we really tried to focus our team on. I feel like that’s the biggest area of growth for us. I thought we locked in. We kind of have taken it personally when players have had career highs on us, and I thought we took it personally today.”
The Boilermakers (5-4, 2-3) struggled offensively from the beginning, and Maryland built a 43-22 lead by halftime. Purdue managed just two field goals in the first quarter, and it shot 21.2 percent from the field in the first half. That’s not a winning formula against a Maryland team on pace to break the program record of 89.6 points per game set in 1977-78.
The Terps were never threatened, steadily building their advantage until it peaked at the final margin of 37 points.
“We already know what kind of offensive team we are,” Frese said. “When you talk about the defensive end, as we can put that together on both ends of the floor, that makes us a very dangerous team.”
Sophomore guard Ashley Owusu scored a game-high 19 points for Maryland with an efficient 9-for-13 shooting effort to go along with nine assists and three rebounds. Fellow sophomore guard Diamond Miller added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Terps, and senior guard Katie Benzan and senior forward Chloe Bibby each finished with 11 points.
Kayana Traylor scored 12 points for Purdue, the only Boilermakers player to reach double figures.
Maryland’s defense allowed it to overcome a slow offensive start of its own. The Terps scored only 16 points in the first quarter after shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 0 for 5 from three-point range. A 14-4 run to start the second quarter gave Maryland a 20-point lead for the first time.
The teams briefly traded baskets immediately after halftime as Purdue found some offensive flow, but three Benzan threepointers keyed a 17-0 third-quarter eruption by Maryland that ended the competitive portion of the afternoon.
“I think that we learned that we’re a fighting team,” Owusu said. “. . . I just learned that we’re poised and we can keep our composure when things aren’t going our way.”
Note: After a brief appearance against Michigan State, senior forward Alaysia Styles played her first extended minutes for Maryland after she joined the team last month as a graduate transfer from California. She scored six points in 20 minutes to go along with four rebounds, one block and one steal. The 6-foot-3 forward from San Diego was a fourstar prospect and the 16th-ranked wing in the Class of 2017.
“I know a lot of people say, ‘Give credit to your teammates,’ but I wholeheartedly mean that these girls and coaches have raised my bar in the last five practices that I’ve had,” Styles said. “Everyone plays with such high intensity. Everyone cares. Everyone is motivated. That has raised my ability and raised my confidence in everything up to that point. For that, it makes basketball easy.
“Being on the court with them is like a reward, almost. I enjoyed it. It was fun. Everything is coming to me, and everything is clicking. I’m grateful to be here with these people.”