Maryland women’s basketball is a team with “grit,” Shyanne Sellers said, a trait her team leaned on in its first game after its fourth loss of the season. Led by Sellers, the Terps bounced back with a defensive showcase to beat Minnesota 72-64.
Sellers guided Maryland with 15 points and eight assists after scoring just four points and fouling out in the loss four days ago, showcasing the Terps’ ability to look to the future even after difficult defeats.
“I told you before, this isn’t the same that I see in March,” Sellers said.
Maryland (10-4, 2-1 Big Ten) tallied its second conference win of the season by protecting the basketball. Coach Brenda Frese’s team finished with 22 assists to a season-low 11 turnovers while forcing 20 of them from Minnesota (11-3, 1-2 Big Ten).
Allie Kubek’s 15 points led the Terps alongside Sellers, and Lavender Briggs added 13 in her second game back from injury.
The Terps started slow in Minneapolis, failing to make baskets or secure missed shots on either end of the floor early. They had no answer for Sophie Hart, who scored the first eight points for the Golden Gophers.
When Maryland failed to score inside the paint, it found a way to generate offense outside the three-point arc. It was an atypical move — just 20.6 percent of the Terps’ points this season came from deep. But in the first quarter against Minnesota, nearly all of their 18 points were from three-pointers.
Leading that trend was Kubek, who shot 3-for-5 to finish the first 10 minutes with nine points.
Similar to the Cornhuskers, the Golden Gophers used their strong rebounding ability to control Wednesday’s game. They outrebounded the Terps 23-15 in the first half and allowed Maryland to grab just three offensive rebounds.
But the Terps found other ways to gain possession. The team increased its intensity on defense, deploying a press to force six turnovers in the second quarter. As a result, Maryland outscored Minnesota 25-15 in the frame to take a seven-point lead into the half.
“I think our ability to switch defense can definitely impact the other team because they’re never going to get the same look on offense,” Briggs said.
Similar to the first quarter, the Terps were inefficient from the floor to open the second half and allowed too many rebounds to let the Golden Gophers pull within a possession. Maryland continued its aggressive defensive pressure from the second quarter — arms outstretched and shots contested on nearly every attempt — resulting in a more than three-minute scoring drought.
“I thought our mentality, just our aggressiveness, next play on both ends of the floor was really important,” Frese said.
The Golden Gophers fought back in the fourth quarter as the Terps’ offense fell stagnant for a brief stretch. With just over a minute left, Minnesota began fouling the Terps to keep time from running out. One of those was Minnesota point guard Amaya Battle’s fifth infraction that removed her from the contest while Sellers made three of her four attempts to secure the victory.