No. 10 Maryland women’s basketball overcomes Diamond Miller’s foul trouble to beat No. 13 Michigan, 72-64

COLLEGE PARK — Fans of the Maryland women’s basketball program might wonder what life will look like after senior guard Diamond Miller graduates.

They caught a glimpse of that future a bit sooner than they wanted to.


With Miller lost late in the fourth quarter after picking up her fifth foul of the game, No. 10 Maryland barely hung on late in a tight 72-64 win against No. 13 Michigan in a key Big Ten matchup before an announced 5,602 at Xfinity Center.

Despite her late absence, Miller led all scorers with 23 points and added five steals, two rebounds and two assists. Senior shooting guard Lavender Briggs had 14 points and three rebounds off the bench, sophomore shooting guard Shyanne Sellers chipped in 13 points and five rebounds, and senior shooting guard Abby Meyers finished with 12 points and a career high-tying 11 rebounds.


The victory was the fourth in a row for Maryland (17-4, 8-2 Big Ten), which survived despite nearly squandering a 10-point lead after Miller fouled out with 2:19 left in regulation.

Maryland guard Diamond Miller (1) reacts during the first half of Thursday night's win over Michigan in College Park.

“We’ve got to keep Diamond in the game,” Meyers said. “She’s a scorer. She gets so many great opportunities on the offensive end. … When Diamond went out, it was, ‘Let’s defend as best as we can,’ because Coach [Brenda Frese] kept saying, ‘Defense was going to win. Whatever happens on offense will happen. We’ve got to limit their fouls and limit their easy attempts.’ In the end, we pulled through.”

When Miller picked up her fourth foul of the game with 17.9 seconds left in the third quarter, the Wolverines took advantage of her absence by opening the final period with five straight points to trim the deficit to 56-49. Miller returned with 6:29 left in regulation and helped the Terps re-establish a double-digit lead at 65-55.

But Miller was assessed her fifth foul with 2:17 remaining, and Michigan pulled to within 67-61 with 72 seconds left. Fortunately for the Terps, the Wolverines were forced to foul, and Sellers, Meyers and Briggs combined to convert five of six free throws to keep Michigan at bay.

Miller acknowledged that she could have avoided fouling out for the second time this season.

“Maybe I was a bit too aggressive,” she said. “I do remember some of the fouls, but just cleaning up the unnecessary fouls because some of those fouls were iffy. The fouls I can control, I’ve got to control. I was just playing hard and playing for my teammates.”

If there was one statistical factor that weighed heavily in Maryland’s favor, it was turnovers. Michigan committed 24 turnovers — its third-highest total of the season — and the Terps converted those miscues into 25 points.

“I thought we set the tone,” said Frese, whose team caused more than 20 turnovers for the fourth consecutive game. “When you look at forcing them into 24 turnovers, they have so many great players on that team that I thought defense helped us win this game.”


Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico said Maryland’s length proved disruptive.

“I think their press really wore us down,” she said. “For some of our younger kids, that was probably their first time they had faced — other than maybe Ohio State — that kind of pressure and that kind of length.”

Armed with a 43-34 lead less than three minutes into the third quarter, the Terps rattled off seven consecutive points to take a 50-34 advantage — their largest of the game.

Michigan didn’t help itself by driving into a 4:12 drought.

But the tide changed when Miller picked up her fourth foul of the game with 17.9 seconds left in the period. Maryland took a 56-44 lead into the final quarter, but could not muster any offense in the first 2:46.

The sides were evenly matched through the first five minutes of the game before Michigan ran off six straight points in a 40-second span capped by four points from sophomore shooting guard Laila Phelia. At the media timeout with 3:59 left in the first quarter, the Wolverines owned a 13-9 lead.


But Maryland answered by kicking off a 13-2 run to end the period and assume a 22-15 advantage. Miller scored five points during the run for a game-high nine points by the end of the quarter.

Michigan trimmed the deficit to four at 26-22 with 7:16 left in the second quarter. But the Wolverines then meandered into a 2:39 drought, and that opened the door for the Terps to scored eight unanswered points bookended by 3-pointers from Meyers and senior power forward Faith Masonius.

Maryland enjoyed its largest lead of the first half at the 3:02 mark with a 39-25 advantage. And despite not scoring another point in the final 3:02 and missing their last seven shots, the Terps still managed to take a 39-29 lead into halftime.

Fifth-year senior shooting guard Leigha Brown paced Michigan with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Phelia contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and graduate student small forward Emily Kiser compiled 11 points and nine rebounds.

But the Wolverines (16-5, 6-4) dropped their second game in a row, and Barnes Arico rued her team’s hole in the first half.

“I’m kind of bummed we got down early in the first quarter and felt like we had to battle back,” she said. “They had some big-time players that made some big-time plays.”


Penn State at No. 10 Maryland

Monday, 6 p.m.

TV: Big Ten Network