B1G Game 7: Gophers Host Maryland (1-14-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ALL ABOUT ANGEL REESE
It was a promising start for one of the nation’s top ranked recruits. In Maryland’s first four games, Angel Reese averaged 13.0 points and 7 rebounds in 16 minutes per game. But early in the fourth game (the home opener versus Towson), the 6’3” guard went down with a Jones fracture to her right foot. Following surgery, she was expected back late in February. With Reese out, a notably thin lineup got thinner.

Like Minnesota’s last opponent, Penn State, the Gophers face a Maryland (5-0) team rife with change. This season’s roster is a scant shadow of last season’s lineup. There were graduations: Kaila Charles, Stephanie Jones and Blair Watson. There were transfers: Taylor Mikesell to Oregon, Shakira Austin to Ole Miss and Olivia Owens to Kentucky. But, unlike the Lady Lions, Maryland’s returnees include Ashley Owusu and Diamond Miller. They provide a dynamic tandem capable of casting their own shadows.

Owusu and Miller were joined in the starting lineup by three transfers: 6’1” guard Chloe Bibby from Mississippi State, 6’3” forward Mimi Collins from Tennessee and 5’6” guard Katie Benzan from Harvard. For good measure, the Terps also recently added 6’3” forward Alaysia Styles from Cal. This line-up has Maryland atop the Big Ten (again).

It is also a lineup in serious need of Angel Reese riding to the rescue. Without her, the Terps are likely incapable of getting Maryland into the top ten. Brenda Frese has settled into a thin seven player rotation with the starters getting significant minutes. As a result, Maryland seems to tire or become disinterested as the clock counts down. The lineup became a little thinner when Channise Lewis tweaked her knee in East Lansing. While Frese said the injury wasn’t serious, Lewis was not available for Sunday’s Purdue game. On the plus side, Alaysia Styles became available before the Michigan State game. So, add one, lose one.

Even with Reese, the Terps lost to #24 Missouri State at the Beach Bubble in Estero, Florida. The Maryland, leading after the 1st quarter 24-14, faded badly in the third and fourth quarters allowing the Lady Bears to emerge with an 81-72 win. The following day, Maryland rebounded to knock off #14 Arkansas, 115-96 (everyone was certainly tired of playing defense). More important, the Terrapins continue to struggle closing out conference games versus strong opponents like Indiana and Michigan State.

For instance, Maryland jumped all over the visiting Hoosiers (the preseason B1G favorites) enthusiastically running out to a 23-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The next two quarter s were dead even before the Indiana scored 33 in the fourth closing within 3 late. Ultimately, a 84-80 Terp victory was aided by mid-game injuries to IU’s Jaelynn Penn (ankle) and Nicole Cardano-Hilary (elbow to the eye). Plus, as IU head coach, Teri Moren, said, the Hoosiers had no answer for Owusu who had 20 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds. Miller chipped in 20 points.

The game at Michigan State played out similarly, minus the injuries. A 48-33 Terp halftime lead all but melted away in the second half with Sparty closing within 2 with 1:46 remaining in the game. Maryland recovered to pull out 93-87 win. Once again Owusu was the motivating force with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.

Yes, it seems unlikely that the Gophers can tire out Maryland down the stretch when we’ve had our own fading issues. Anyway, I find Ashley Owusu, last season’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year, a fun player to watch. She’s not a fun player to guard. Once she’s headed toward the bucket she can’t be stopped.

Both Owusu and Miller will be well rested heading to Minneapolis. Maryland made short work of Purdue in College Park 83-46. The Terps led 43-22 at the half and quickly moved the lead to plus thirty in the third quarter. Brenda limited both Owusu and Miller to 30 minutes. So, we can look forward to a pair of tall point guards ready and willing to run and Angel Reese biding her time on the bench wearing a boot.

Last Season’s Showdown:

Maryland traveled to Minneapolis for the last conference game of the season and delivered a 99-44 thrashing to the Gophers in front of the season’s largest home crowd. The 55 point loss was the third worst in Minnesota history. I think we’d rather remember Jasmine Brunson being proposed to during the post-game, senior day, celebration.

Minnesota’s quarter by quarter scoring was 13, 6, 20 and 5. We couldn’t even enjoy the 20 point third quarter because the Terps put up 38. Anyway, Owusu is the only returning starter from a game in which she scored 17 points in 26 minutes. Diamond Miller came off the bench for 11 points in 18 minutes. Even Faith Masonius contributed 6 points in 20 minutes. Minnesota was led by Sara Scalia with 10 points and Gadiva Hubbard with 8. Klarke Sconiers did not score in 10 minutes of play.



B1G Wins: @Rutgers 94-72, @Penn State 96-82, Indiana 84-80, Michigan State 93-87, Purdue 83-46

Non Conference Wins: (N) Davidson 94-72, (N) Arkansas 115-96, Towson 112-78, James Madison 101-59

Non Conference Loss: (N) Missouri State 72-81



Ashley Owusu’s Last Six Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rutgers1555323
James Madison1987290
Penn State3481384
Indiana2055333
Michigan State20106383
Purdue1939301


Diamond Miller’s Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Rutgers1942334
James Madison1862234
Penn State1764332
Indiana2062253
Michigan State1463362
Purdue1682301

Probable Starters (B1G Stats):

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’0”GSoAshley Owusu34.021.66.2
6’3”GSoDiamond Miller29.617.26.0
6’1”G/FSrChloe Bibby34.214.87.2
6’3”FRSoMimi Collins27.612.07.8
5’6”GSrKatie Benzan33.012.23.2


Bench (Big Stats):

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’8”GRJrChannise Lewis16.55.30.5
6’1”G/FSoFaith Masonius20.08.04.6
6’1”GFrTaisiya Kozlova6.52.01.0
6’3”FSrAlaysia Styles10.53.02.0
 

Katogopher

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Hate to be negative, but Maryland will have 100 pts. By halftim. Gophers don’t have a defense
 

GringaGopher

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Our lack of consistent D is very concerning. We are terrible in stopping the dribble drive and I wish I had counted how many uncontested lay ups our opponents have made this season. We have some players with foot speed but many of them are not playing D with their feet. I agree they will probably struggle against MD but hopefully we don't give up 100 in the first half.
 

MNGirlsHoops

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Our lack of consistent D is very concerning. We are terrible in stopping the dribble drive and I wish I had counted how many uncontested lay ups our opponents have made this season. We have some players with foot speed but many of them are not playing D with their feet. I agree they will probably struggle against MD but hopefully we don't give up 100 in the first half.
I agree, we have some foot speed, but not playing smart and moving feet. You would have to think the coaches are seeing this in film and will need to start holding individuals accountable. Things like getting beat in transition or losing your girl in transition could be maturity, but should be correctable or you will sit.
When Kadi is active this team is active, when she disappears or comes out for long stretches, that front line isn't dynamic enough offensively and not quick enough defensively to play significant minutes as a group, hence our 2nd half falters. Our best half of the year was IA, Kadi was very active, we had an inside out game, but Kadi is still learning the US game, so we have to give her some more time to learn how to be consistent, then you will see this team grow.
 

GringaGopher

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Nice to see improved ball movement and D. Powell on fire from 3- 4/5! Really want them to keep this close.
 

GringaGopher

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Hate to be negative, but Maryland will have 100 pts. By halftim. Gophers don’t have a defense
50-43 MD @ the half is honestly a big improvement for the Gophers. They will most likely struggle to keep this margin in the 2nd half but it's nice to this team making some progress.
 

whalenfan

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Defense is still a work in progress but goodness Maryland can score, that pullup by owusu to end the half is almost unstoppable. Offense is taking good shots and moving the ball.
 

JellyBean2144

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Not too bad of a 1st half. I like the intensity on the offensive end. The ladies are playing tough out there. I like the competitive nature of our Gophers.
 

GringaGopher

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MD has so many pure shooters so you can't just focus on a couple of players. Their center Bibby is an excellent 3 point shooter.
 

Katogopher

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MD is a great team but we also cannot get over the third quarter blues. Can the score board operator put up 4th quarter when they come our at half time?
 

GringaGopher

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They are now 11/22 from 3. Add that to their balanced scoring and this is a good MD team.
 

Katogopher

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I’ve seen MD play a few times this year, this seems to be one of their best Big Ten Team.
 

blkroll

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I think Smith and Borowicz should get more of Hubbard’s minutes. She’s been pretty non-existent lately
 

GringaGopher

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Love the energy and moxie of Borowwicz ! Respectable showing today with some obvious improvements.
 
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whalenfan

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I’ve seen MD play a few times this year, this seems to be one of their best Big Ten Team.
Only weakness is they dont have much for post defense, teams with good bigs could give them trouble. Offensively though they are tremendous.
 

Gophers112233

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I know it was another lost..

Powell had one of her better games holding onto the ball today 22 points,7 rebounds, 8 assists and only 3 To's .. looked like the only Jaz who finished off the season last year.

Sconiers might have had her best game in a gopher jersey in the 1st half.. 13 points and 5 of 5 from the FT.. Maryland took her out of the game in the 2nd half and we didn't really use her much in the 2nd half

Smith played pretty well I have been impressed with her defense plays good defense for a freshman. I do wish she would be ore aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.. she passes up a lot of easy lay ups or shots..

Borowicz in those final 4 minutes kind of said look out I'll take some shots.. 8 points and a nice assist.. 2 long range 3's and a nice off the dribble drive to the basket..

have to figure out how to get Sissoko going and Hubbard as well.. both kind of just go MIA for to long of times during games.

wish we could put together a full 40 minutes..

pieces are here and they are showing improvement..
 

tripledouble

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A loss is a loss, but some encouraging signs against a good Maryland team. Powell had a solid game and kept her turnovers down, back playing the point. Sconiers looks like she is getting better. Smith shows some potential. And who is that high school kid? Just teasing. Katie was terrific. Only 4 more years of her? This team is still missing enough inside presence to compete with most other BIG teams. Hoping that will eventually come from Sissoko and Sconiers. All that being said, I think they're getting better.
 
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