Angel Reese went for 21 points and 15 rebounds and the No. 13 Maryland Terrapins came back from down 11 to earn their third ranked win of the season (second in a row) and avoid being swept by the No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes Thursday night at XFINITY Center in College Park, Md.
The Terps (20-6, 12-3 Big Ten) won by a final score of 77-72 with Diamond Miller adding 18 points and six rebounds. It is so important for both Reese and Miller to be playing well as they are the true stars of the team (along with Ashley Owusu), though others are certainly capable of stepping up (Chloe Bibby has two 20-point games over the Terps’ current eight-game winning streak and averages more points than Miller on the season).
It’s good to see Miller get back to the prolific numbers she put up last year before dealing with knee issues this season.
Owusu, who joined Reese on the Naismith Trophy midseason team, warmed up but did not play due to her ankle injury. The Terps are 5-0 while she’s been out if you include the Feb. 3 win at Michigan State in the game in which she was injured. Maryland defeated No. 22 Iowa on Monday and with the win over the Buckeyes moved up to a No. 4 seed in ESPN’s bracketology on Friday.
Former Terp and Ohio State senior Taylor Mikesell hit a three with 4:46 remaining in the second that put the Buckeyes up 11. That was the latest occurrence of Ohio State’s largest lead.
The Buckeyes still led by a good amount (nine) with 1:32 to go before the break, but that’s when Maryland went on a 10-0 run that lasted until 8:55 in the third. The run featured four points from Miller and six points from Reese, who capped the stretch with a fast break layup. Things went back and forth from there until the Terps went on another big run, this time 9-0, to bring the score to 59-50 in their favor. Mimi Collins converted on a key 3-point play to make it 54-50. A Reese free throw made it 55-50 and Maryland led by at least five the rest of the game.
After a Miller jumper with 3:08 remaining in the contest, Maryland led by 11. After that, Mikesell’s splash sister, Jacy Sheldon, went on a 5-0 individual run that included a three to cut it to 75-69 with 1:09 to go. Reese then made a layup and Sheldon responded with another trey to cut it to 77-72 with 22 ticks left.
A two-possession game with less than the shot clock to go seemed pretty comfortable for the Terps and Ohio State was going to have to foul unless it forced a turnover. It did force a turnover and Mikesell had a chance to make Maryland sweat, but missed a there with eight seconds remaining.
Mikesell finished with a game-high 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting (5-of-7 from deep). Sheldon added 22 points and was 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Katie Benzan notched 11 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Terps. She was 3-of-4 from long range. Reese was 9-of-10 at the free throw line and Maryland was 19-of-21 as a team, compared to the Buckeyes’ 7-of-8 effort.
The Terps won second chance points 19-5. Reese hauled in a game-high six offensive rebounds. Maryland also won bench points 23-2 because Reese came off the bench for the first time this season.
Terrapin head coach Brenda Frese has guided the team to 18-straight 20-win seasons.
Ohio State fell to 19-5 (11-4 Big Ten).
The top five teams in the Big Ten are separated by 1.5 games. Maryland is tied for first with No. 5 Indiana and the Buckeyes are in fourth, just a half a game ahead of Iowa. The top four teams get double byes in the conference tournament.
The Terps wrap up their regular season with difficult tests against No. 9 Michigan and Indiana. Ohio State closes with Wisconsin (7-18, 4-11 Big Ten), Penn State (10-15, 4-11 Big Ten) and Michigan State (14-11, 8-6 Big Ten).