COLLEGE PARK, Md. — After the first 20 minutes of Maryland’s contest against another upper-echelon Big Ten opponent, head coach Brenda Frese had to hide her true emotions from her team when walking into the locker room to talk second-half strategy. That first half will go down in Terrapin and league history, a shooting exhibition that again announced this team as more than ready and capable for a long run in March.
Guard Katie Benzan set a school-record with nine three-pointers in leading a long-range barrage by the Terrapins during a 111-93 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at the XFINITY Center. Benzan led all scorers with 29, while Diamond Miller had 27 points and Ashley Owusu scored 24. The three combined to go 30-for-41 from the floor, part of the Terrapins’ 61.2 percent shooting from the field.
In the first quarter alone, both the Terrapins and Hawkeyes burned the nets to the tune of 15-of-20 from beyond the arc combined, with Maryland hitting eight of their nine long-range attempts. Benzan, in particular, had a special day from three, tying a school record for threes in a single game by halftime with eight. Powered by their 41-point first quarter, the Terrapins took a 20-point lead into the start of the second quarter and a 68-51 advantage into intermission, tying the league record for most points scored in a first half.
““Our staff was honestly stunned at halftime. We didn’t tell the girls that,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “I’ve never been part of a game like that. I can’t wait to go back and watch the game.”
Iowa, led by the nation’s second-leading scorer in freshman Caitlin Clark, scored 29 of her 34 points in the first half, also hitting nine three-pointers as she attempted to keep the Hawkeyes in touch with the Terrapins. Though the Hawkeyes shooting numbers would have been more than good enough to beat a number of Top 25 teams on the night — 55.6 percent shooting overall, 17-of-33 on threes — it was the 16 turnovers that led to 22 Terrapin points that played a key role in Iowa’s modest two-game winning streak being snapped.
Along with her 27 points, Miller drew the assignment of guarding Clark for most of the second half and helped to slow down the freshman guard who was averaging 26.9 points per game coming into today.
“That’s the growth in Diamond’s game. I’m so proud of her, to be able to see the ownership, that she wanted to be able to take that energy with Caitlin,” Frese said. “It transferred to the offense end. I don’t think Diamond’s ever been so tired in a game. It’s awesome. That’s the kind of talent Diamond has.”
Highly-touted freshman Angel Reese played in her first game for Maryland since fracturing her foot on Dec. 3 in a game against Towson. She scored eight points in 12 minutes.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Tuesday afternoon’s game, with all the photos produced by DC-area photographer Yusuf Abdullah. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 22 pictures in total.