COLLEGE PARK — Nothing like a breezy game against a conference opponent before entering the New Year.
That was how easy No. 16 Maryland women’s basketball made it appear in a 107-85 romp over visiting Big Ten rival Minnesota on Friday afternoon before an announced 6,006 at Xfinity Center.
A trio of starting shooting guards reached double digits in scoring with senior Diamond Miller leading all scorers with 22 points, sophomore Shyanne Sellers adding 19 and senior Abby Meyers contributing 17.
Those performances helped the Terps (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) overwhelm the Golden Gophers (8-6, 1-2), who never got closer than seven points in the second half and trailed by as much as 26 at 103-77 with 3:07 left in the fourth quarter. The team’s dominance allowed coach Brenda Frese to liberally rotate players off the bench, which resulted in senior shooting guard Lavender Briggs compiling 14 points, four rebounds and two assists and four other players scoring at least two points each.
“We definitely talked about closing 2022 on a high note, and I think we executed our game plan well today,” said Miller, who amassed five steals, three assists and two rebounds. “Everybody played, so we’re very happy. People got to shine today. So it was a lot of fun.”
Added Frese: “These games are fun when you can come in and make a statement right away.”
The 107-point output was the most Maryland — which extended its winning streak to four consecutive games — had scored against a Big Ten opponent since Feb. 23, 2021, when that squad blistered Iowa, 111-93. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for Minnesota, which fell, 87-64, at then-No. 16 Iowa on Dec. 10.
Frese credited the starters — a group that included Miller, Sellers (nine rebounds and two steals) and Meyers (five assists, four rebounds and three steals — with playing well enough so that she could insert a freshman trio of point guard Gia Cooke (eight points), shooting guard Bri McDaniel (seven points and four rebounds) and forward Mila Reynolds (two points) throughout the second half.
“We have to be able to extend our depth,” Frese said. “Being able to get those minutes tonight, I loved that these guys took care of business. We’ve got to extend that depth for our freshmen.”
Frese heaped praise on Briggs, a transfer from Florida, for registering 12 points and three rebounds in that second half. Briggs, who started as a sophomore for the Gators in 2020-21, said she is getting adjusted to her role off the bench.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” she said. “I feel like I’m just trying to play hard every game and help my teammates as best as I can in any way — on defense, offense. My coaches and my teammates are giving me a lot of confidence, and I feel like that’s just helping me get settled in.”
Said Frese: “Lav is that X-factor right now, to be able to help us separate from teams even more. I loved the overall game she had from start to finish. I thought she was sensational. The fact that all 10 players got in and were able to score, we really extended our depth today, which we’re going to need to be able to do going forward.”
The Terps began to separate themselves from the Golden Gophers midway through the first quarter. After Minnesota freshman point guard Amaya Battle’s jumper knotted the score at 9 with 5:33 remaining, Maryland embarked on a 10-2 burst for a 19-11 lead.
The Terps then erupted for an 18-7 run in a 4:08 stretch spanning the first and second quarters to assume a 37-18 advantage. But the Golden Gophers refused to go away, outscoring Maryland, 21-11, over the last 6:39 of the first half.
The Terps ran away in the third quarter courtesy of an 11-0 spurt over a 90-second span to seize a 65-44 lead with just a little over six minutes remaining that they would not relinquish.
The third quarter might have been Maryland’s best of the season. The team shot 60% (15-for-25) from the field en route to scoring 35 points, committed zero turnovers to the Golden Gophers’ seven and recorded 10 of their game-high 21 assists in that period.
“They’re a Big Ten team, very competitive, and they’re really talented,” Miller said of Minnesota. “It was to weather the storm, and I think we did that. Especially coming out of halftime, we really wanted to make sure they didn’t get another run. So we were just playing better defense and playing harder and running in transition, getting easier buckets.”
Golden Gophers sophomore forward Rose Micheaux matched Miller for game-high honors with 22 points of her own and collected nine rebounds. Sophomore shooting guard Maggie Czinano came off the bench to chip in 16 points and eight rebounds, and the shooting guard pair of redshirt freshman Katie Borowicz and freshman Mara Braun scored 10 points each.
But Minnesota turned the ball over 23 times — their second-highest total of the season — which the Terps converted into 30 points. Maryland also held sizable advantages in second-chance points (17-6), fastbreak points (26-13) and bench points (39-26).
“Nineteen assists is great, but 23 turnovers is obviously not going to cut it against a team like Maryland,” Golden Gophers coach Lindsay Whelan said. “But they force you into a lot of that. I thought in the third, they came out and adjusted a few things and put a little more pressure on us. I thought we were just too casual at times with the ball, starting in the third.”
No. 16 Maryland at Rutgers
Monday, 2 p.m.
Stream: Big Ten Network