There will soon be a time when Brenda Frese happily celebrates her record 500 victory as Marylandcoach.
At the moment, she is focusing on guiding Terrapin’s first place through a new run to the Big Ten Championship.
Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu scored 20 points each, and No. 7 Maryland blew past Michigan State 92-52 Thursday to give Frese his 498th victory with the Terrapins.
Frese is now on a win after matching the program record held by Hall of Fame coach Chris Weller, who Frese replaced in 2002. Frese is 498-130 with the Terrapins and 555-160 in total, including two seasons in Ball State and one in Minnesota . .
Breaking Weller’s record is a big thing for everyone associated with the team – except perhaps for Frese.
“I do not think of it when you are in this moment. I think I only know it because of all of you,” Frese said. “I remember when I came to Maryland and Chris Weller had 499 wins and I was like, ‘My goodness.’ I can not imagine coaching for so long. “And here I am.”
Maryland (12-2, 8-1) took control with a 17-0 run in the first quarter, led by 20 at halftime and crossed to the finish line. Four players made double figures for Terps, who bounced back impressively after losing their 10-game winning streak earlier this week at Ohio State.
“I could say we were locked out of the lead today,” Frese said. “Just loved the answer. It continues to show the character of this locker room. You saw this team for 40 minutes. I thought it was one of our most dominant so far.”
Nia Clouden scored 15 for Michigan State (9-3, 4-3). The Spartans shot 34%, outscored 39-27 and committed 24 turnovers.
Earlier this month, Clouden made it 32 and Maryland escaped with a 93-87 victory. The rematch was completely different.
“Keeping them at 52 points is pretty good,” Frese said.
The game was originally scheduled for February 10, but was moved up after both teams had an opening due to launches caused by COVID-19. Since January 10, Michigan State has postponed three games and played only twice.
The Spartans got off to a decent start before Maryland took over with a 17-point blitz that made it 20-7. Miller got things started with a 3-pointer and a lineup before Chloe Bibby took a quick break, hit a 3 and dropped two free throws.
Seven different Terrapins did in a first quarter that ended with Maryland up to 27-15. The start of the second period was more of the same, with Bibby, Miller, Katie Benzan and Owusu both contributing to a 13-1 turn that increased the margin to 24.
It was 50-30 at halftime, and at that time the only tension was whether Terps would reach 100 points for the fourth time this season. Maryland came in as the country’s highest score (92 points per game).
Terrapins did 14 3-pointer, their most since drilling 21 on December 3 against Towson.
It was the perfect way to put the Ohio State loss behind them.
“We lost, so teams can underestimate us,” Owusu said. “But today it was a statement that we are still one of the best teams in the conference.”
The Spartans were without starting guard Tory Ozment, who tested positive for COVID-19. Ozment ends up in second place in the team in assists and has an average of 8.1 points per game.
The skewed victory against one of the big ten better teams should enable Maryland to remain in the top 10 despite Monday’s loss to Ohio State.
THE WHOLE PICTURE
Michigan State: The Spartans can hold on to most Big Ten teams, but not Maryland. They are now 2-15 against Terps.
Maryland: Terrapins have point depth, play tight defense and crash the boards. The Big Ten continues to get better, but so does Maryland in first place.
Michigan State: The Spartans are scheduled to face Indiana on the road Sunday.
Maryland: Terps get a week off before taking home Wisconsin on Feb. 4.
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