Midway through the third quarter, Brenda Frese called a timeout. Despite a sizable lead, the Maryland women’s basketball coach wanted to talk to her team. After a turnover that led to an easy Wisconsin bucket, Frese was looking for a response from her squad.
After the timeout, the Terps had a five-and-a-half minute stretch where they held the Badgers scoreless and added 16 points to blow the game wide open. At the end of the third, Maryland’s lead had ballooned to 29 points.
The choice to call the timeout despite a big lead was emblematic of the attention to detail that has made Frese one of the country’s top coaches.
Her squad easily dispatched Wisconsin, 84-48, in her 499th win helming the No. 10 Terps. The victory ties her with Chris Weller for the most wins in program history.
“You just get caught up in coaching a game and wanting to help your team be successful,” Frese said. “It’s special to do it with this team this season because they’ve truly been just a pleasure to be able to coach.”
But this wasn’t a win Frese had to sweat through, as Maryland started hot and never looked back en route to a dominating victory.
The Terps made their first seven shots, part of yet another stellar shooting night for the nation’s top offense. Ashley Owusu continued her dominating sophomore campaign with 17 points and five assists.
While she scored efficiently, the sophomore added a couple of highlight-reel passes in the third quarter. Midway through the period, Owusu passed up an open three before zipping a pass to Chloe Bibby, who’d sneaked past the defense.
She did the same near the end of the quarter. After Taisiya Kozlova picked up a loose ball and passed to Owusu, the sophomore flicked an artful pass over two Badger defenders to Bibby once again.
Fellow sophomore Mimi Collins was perfect from the field in the first half, making all six of her shot attempts for 12 points.
Midway through the first quarter, Diamond Miller pushed the pace in transition. The sophomore dashed up the guard, but as she approached the free throw line, she decelerated into a wicked behind-the-back dribble.
With the defense scrambling, Miller looked up and saw Collins wide open, who scored one of her easiest baskets on the night. Collins finished with 14 points.
“We’re just a team full of buckets,” Collins said. “Just all 11 of us, we just all know how to score, we all just share the wealth, we move the ball very very well, and we just find each other.”
Maryland played fast off the tip, running off misses and forced turnovers en route to 22 fastbreak points. Owusu and Katie Benzan had great chemistry running the fastbreak together, combining for buckets on multiple possessions.
After a relatively quiet first half, Benzan came alive in the latter part of the contest, making four threes and scoring 12 points in the final 20 minutes. Early in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin dared her to shoot a three from well behind the arc.
The Terps’ guard looked back-and-forth at her defender, pump-faking multiple times to see if the Badgers would bite. When none of them did, she decided to launch the triple, which barely touched the net as it dropped in. She finished with 18 points and went 6-of-8 from behind the arc.
That’s the identity of this Maryland team. A year after having a squad with a dominating defense, Frese has one that does its best work on the offensive end.
Both teams however, have used her steady hand at the wheel to drive towards a familiar spot — the top.
And they know who they have to thank.
“Who doesn’t want to be coached by the GOAT?” Collins asked.