COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP)Diamond Miller scored a season-high 24 points, Ashley Owusu added 20, and No. 10 Maryland never trailed Thursday as it routed Penn State 106-78.
The Terrapins (11-4, 3-1) bounced back from Sunday’s 70-63 overtime loss at Indiana and won their 31st consecutive home game.
Maryland smothered the Nittany Lions, forcing 20 takeaways and holding a 26-6 edge in points off turnovers.
”I loved our aggressiveness,” coach Brenda Frese said. ”I think we forced them into about seven turnovers in the first quarter, setting the tone aggressively.”
Makenna Marisa scored 24 of her 29 points in the second half for Penn State (7-6, 1-2).
The Nittany Lions hadn’t played since Dec. 18 because of a COVID-19 pause, losing their final nonconference game to a cancellation and two Big Ten games to postponements. They were also without forward Ali Brigham, their second-leading scorer – a considerable disadvantage against the lengthy Terps.
”To get back on the floor and shake the rust off, it was great to have another opponent,” Penn State coach Carolyn Kieger said. ”I think hopefully in a couple weeks we’ll look back at this time and be stronger because of it. But right now, we have to weather the storm just like everybody else in the country.”
Maryland scored the first six points and was never seriously hassled from there. Miller scored six consecutive points late in the first quarter to push the lead to 22-7, and Owusu’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half gave the Terps a 53-28 advantage at the break.
Miller, a first team all-Big Ten selection last year, was slowed by a knee injury for much of nonconference play and made her first start of the season Thursday. She had four rebounds, four assists and three steals to cause problems for Penn State at both ends.
”We have a great group of girls, and I love to play with them,” Miller said. ”Just to play with my teammates again was a lot of fun.”
Angel Reese had 15 points and 14 rebounds to record her fourth consecutive double-double and eighth of the season for the Terps.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions have lost their three games against ranked opponents by an average of 30.7 points. Still, the Terps were not an ideal opponent to contend with coming out of a hiatus of nearly three weeks.
Maryland: The Terps continued their dominance of Penn State, improving to 11-0 against the Nittany Lions since entering the Big Ten in 2014-15. Thursday’s blowout fit well into the series history; all but two of Maryland’s triumphs in that span over Penn State have come by at least 12 points.
REESE’S SECOND CHANCES
Reese began the day averaging 5.2 offensive rebounds, the most in Division I, and tacked on eight more against Penn State. Reese has the same number of offensive and defensive rebounds for the season – 81 each – and has five outings with at least eight offensive boards.
Marisa, who entered the night third in the Big Ten and 10th nationally at 21.1 points a game, shot 2 of 10 from the field in the first half before a 10-of-12 showing after the break. It was her eighth 20-point game of the season, and the junior fell a point shy of her third 30-point outing.
”What’s crazy is I don’t think Makenna played a very good game at all for her standards, and she was still able to have 29 points,” Kieger said. ”Maryland did a phenomenal job in that first half in disrupting her and getting in her head a little bit. I think she was rattled there but showed a lot of composure to come back and have that great second half.”
Penn State begins a two-game homestand Jan. 13 when Michigan visits the Bryce Jordan Center.
Maryland visits Minnesota on Sunday for the teams’ only regular-season meeting.
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