After its flight home following a blowout loss to No. 6 Iowa Thursday, Maryland women’s basketball members sat together and turned on the projector. They sat and rewatched the entire game, seeing their sloppy transition play, poor perimeter defense and carelessness with the ball.
The Terps committed 18 turnovers and gave up a season-high 96 points to the Hawkeyes. They let Caitlin Clark go off for 42 points and also struggled to contain Monika Czinano, who had 28 points including 24 in the paint.
“I think for us, we — especially in the first half — we beat ourselves,” Abby Meyers said. “We were kind of just a little flustered on our transition defense.”
A game later, Maryland came out against No. 10 Ohio State — a team that was ranked second in the country at one point — and earned its largest win against a top 10 team in program history.
The Terps focused on improving their defensive connectedness and limiting open shots, coach Brenda Frese said. That helped her squad limit the Buckeyes to seven first-quarter points and 54 total points, both season-lows for the visitors. Maryland also led by as many as 39 points and grabbed 15 steals in what players called their first complete game.
“Coming out today was extremely crucial for us just to show that we could play 40 minutes,” Diamond Miller said. “We are one of the top contenders in the Big Ten, so we gotta play like it.”
The Iowa defeat and Ohio State victory showcase the two sides of Maryland’s coin. At the Terps’ best, they’ve defeated five ranked teams and suffocated their opposition with stifling defense. But at their nadir, Maryland fell to No. 1 South Carolina, was blown out by Nebraska in the Big Ten opener and struggled against Indiana.
“For us to be successful, if you want to dominate games, if you want to win games, we have to compete for 40 minutes,” Frese said.
Even in a blowout win over Penn State Jan. 30, the Terps gave up 31 third-quarter points. After the game, Shyanne Sellers said the team hadn’t played a full 40-minute outing, and their best basketball was yet to come.
It was on full display Sunday.
“I think when we play those big teams, we have to stick to our principles and what got us where we are now,” Meyers said.
Maryland’s best results of the year depict a team that could be a force in the conference tournament and play well into March. It has shown throughout the season, in which they have played one of the toughest schedules, that it doesn’t matter who their opponent is.
It just matters if the Terps play a complete game.