By Brandon Alter
Special to The Sports Pulse
Just five weeks before Selection Sunday, the Maryland women’s basketball team made an emphatic statement blowing out Ohio State 90-54 in front of 11,167 spectators at the Xfinity Center.
After No. 10 Ohio State tied the game early, the No. 8 Terrapins (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) closed out the first quarter on a 12-0 run and never looked back. Maryland led for all but 57 seconds of the game.
“We absolutely made a statement,” Shyanne Sellers said. “And if people don’t believe it, then they’ll have to find out for themselves very soon.” The Buckeyes were the second-ranked team in the country two weeks ago after starting the season 19-0.
The 12-0 run, which lasted from the media timeout until the end of the quarter, showed Maryland’s capabilities at both ends of the floor. Not only did the Terps hold Ohio State scoreless, but they also were efficient from the field, hitting six of their last eight shots in the frame.
“I don’t think anything special was said,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese stated when asked about the message during the media timeout. “I think it was just the mentality of being locked in.”
All afternoon, the Terrapins were efficient in their shot selection. Maryland drove the lane, and if the shot wasn’t there, its players kicked it out for a look from the perimeter. Maryland finished with 48 points in the paint.
“Once we were able to get them in foul trouble, our group did a phenomenal job,” Frese said. “We kept telling them not to settle and get downhill. … The attack mentality was really key.”
The Terrapins finished shooting just over 50% from the field (34 of 65), including 6-12 from three while making their free throws count, going 16-18 from the line. Diamond Miller led the way with 29 points and 10 rebounds, recording her fourth double-double of the season. Abby Meyers followed with 22 points and six rebounds, while Sellers had 19 points and nine assists.
Ohio State responded in the second quarter speeding up Maryland with their press, forcing six turnovers in the quarter. Despite this, the Terps continued to buckle down defensively. After an even quarter, the teams headed into the locker room with Maryland up 42-30.
The third quarter belonged to Miller.
After not getting fouls called early in the quarter, Frese became animated. Miller fed off the energy and kept the aggression high, driving the paint. She earned foul calls as the quarter went on, finishing the frame with 16 points. After getting an and-one midway through the quarter, a pumped-up Miller high-fived fans sitting courtside. Later in the quarter, Miller flexed.
“I was definitely pissed off. They were playing dirty, not really dirty because people call me a dirty player,” Miller said. “But they were very aggressive toward me, and I just showed them what real aggression is.”
Maryland entered the fourth quarter up by 25 points and kept adding to the lead, despite playing the third game in a week.
The 36-point margin of victory is the largest for Maryland over a top-10 team in program history, surpassing a 27-point win in 1991. The win gives the Terrapins a trio of victories over top-10 teams this season, with the other pair being a road win at then-No. 7 Notre Dame and a win over then-No. 6 UConn.
Despite the success against ranked teams, the Terps know they still have challenges ahead. Maryland ends the season with rematches with No. 6 Iowa and Ohio State and has a game against an Illinois team sitting just outside the top-25.
However, the Terps know that if they have another dominating performance, they will have what it takes to knock out the best in the nation.
“Coming out today was extremely crucial for us just to show that we can play 40 minutes,” Miller said. “And we are one of the top contenders in the Big Ten, so we got to play like it.”
Feature photo by Michael Smith/The Sports Pulse