Angel Reese walked out of the tunnel wearing a different jersey, but stepped onto the court with the same intensity that’s defined her near-two years at Maryland.
Her previous jersey was now unusable, stained with blood after Reese and Indiana’s Grace Berger crashed headfirst into each other with under five minutes left in the third quarter. Reese sat on the ground for a minute before exiting to the locker room with towels draped over her face.
She returned at the start of the final frame and was greeted by a roar from the crimson-clad Xfinity Center crowd. She’d play almost the entire fourth quarter, save for a few obvious Hoosier fouling situations, and gave Maryland women’s basketball the imposing inside presence they needed to stave off Indiana, 67-64, in Friday night’s regular season home finale.
“I was just looking forward to being back on the court and doing whatever it takes to get through that fourth quarter,” Reese said.
The sophomore secured her 16th double-double of the season with a 20-point, 16-rebound performance, both game-highs. She also added one block, where she soared to reject an Ali Patberg shot attempt midway through the first quarter.
Reese showcased her full set of skills against the Hoosiers.
The Baltimore native called for the ball with less than a minute left in the second quarter. She had a good reason to, nearly backing her defender out of bounds.
By the time she received the ball, Reese had firmly established position with one foot inside the restricted area, and from there it was a sheer formality that her right-handed hook shot would earn her a bucket.
“I think I dominated inside when I could and I think that was an advantage for me tonight,” Reese said.
Her inside position also helped Maryland get second-chance opportunities. Early in the third quarter, Reese swooped into a crowd of three Hoosiers to grab a missed Shyanne Sellers floater and scored despite all of them there — drawing an irritated yell from Indiana guard Ali Patberg.
“Where she kills you is her second chance opportunities,” Indiana coach Teri Moren said. “If you don’t do a good job of boxing her out, she makes you pay by getting her own rebounds.”
Reese also showed the dribbling and passing skills that make her a self-proclaimed “big guard.” She froze Kiandra Browne with a jab step before exploding past her with her left hand for a lay-in.
Reese’s passing skills earned her a pair of assists. The first came when she caught the ball in the post and sensed the incoming double team, flinging a two-handed pass to Katie Benzan in the corner for three. The second came after she grabbed a defensive rebound and launched a perfectly-placed outlet to a streaking Diamond Miller for a wide-open layup.
Throughout the night, the sophomore’s enthusiasm filled the Xfinity Center. Coach Brenda Frese thanked the fans postgame, and Reese fed off their energy while giving them everything they needed.
Reese hoisted Benzan off the ground after the guard knocked down a runner to give Maryland a much-needed cushion. She sprinted to the Terps’ bench after the final buzzer with her arms extended above her head, putting her love for the game and her faith in her teammates on display all night long.
“I think we hit a lot of adversity, I don’t think we folded yet,” Reese said. “It was just a fight tonight… I think all of us are confident going into the [Big Ten Tournament].”