The No. 2 Maryland Terrapins ought to be ok with themselves proper now. They’re coming off a three-point Sunday win in opposition to a perennial nationwide energy in Baylor, who was ranked No. 6 on the time.
The final time the Terps beat a perennial energy or a Prime 10 workforce was on Nov. 18, 2018 once they defeated No. 10 South Carolina, a workforce that was one 12 months faraway from its nationwide championship. There may be an intimidation issue whenever you play a workforce like Baylor and Maryland acquired previous that on Sunday. It’s good for the Terps’ star participant and chief Ashley Owusu to have skilled a win like that for the primary time.
Maryland also needs to really feel good understanding that the win got here with out Katie Benzan (sickness) and Religion Masonius (sickness) and with Diamond Miller not obtainable late. Benzan is the most effective 3-point shooter within the nation and averaged 12.7 factors per recreation final 12 months. She was an enormous lacking piece. Masonius is as strong a job participant as you can see within the nation and offers the Terps depth. After which after all Miller is a member of the preseason All-Large Ten workforce. So Maryland actually may have been extra dominant in opposition to Baylor if it was fully wholesome.
It’s good to be feeling good when you’ve the extremely tough schedule that Maryland has forward of it. The daunting slate will proceed on Thanksgiving Day when it faces the No. 5 NC State Wolfpack within the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Pink Flamingo Championship. The Terps will then face defending nationwide champion Stanford (No. 7) on Saturday as a part of the identical match.
NC State is extra proficient than Baylor on paper and in addition performed No. 1 South Carolina seven factors nearer than a loaded UConn workforce did. Maryland can have its arms full with ACC preseason Participant of the Yr Elissa Cunane in addition to Jakia Brown-Turner, who was an All-America honorable point out final 12 months. The Wolfpack even have a proficient Rutgers switch in Diamond Johnson and affect returners in Raina Perez, Kayla Jones and Kai Crutchfield.
Unsurprisingly, the workforce with the most effective offense within the nation a 12 months in the past, Maryland, is averaging 7.4 extra factors than NC State. Terp main scorer Angel Reese is all the way in which up at 19 factors per recreation, together with a 17-point efficiency in opposition to Baylor that proved she wasn’t simply dominating lesser competitors. Owusu, Mimi Collins, Benzan, Shyanne Sellers and Chloe Bibby be part of Reese in double figures for Maryland. Cunane (14.4 factors per recreation) is the Wolfpack’s main scorer and solely she, Brown-Turner and Johnson are in double figures. Nevertheless, NC State does have a bit extra scoring depth than the Terps.
The Wolfpack have the one loss to South Carolina, however have two convincing wins over Energy 5 groups in Florida and Kansas State. We’ll see if they will convert the momentum of a four-game profitable streak right into a victory over Maryland. It might be onerous to name it an upset if that does occur as a result of these groups had been neck and neck on paper to start out the season with Maryland ranked No. 4 and NC State ranked No. 5.
We’ll additionally see if Miller performs and the way efficient she will probably be if she does. She left the Baylor game, limping, in the third quarter. A knee harm stored her out of the Terps’ first 4 video games of the season. Hopefully Benzan and Masonius will probably be good to go, however Maryland proved on Sunday that they’ve sufficient firepower to defeat extremely ranked groups when not at full energy.
No. 5 NC State (4-1, 0-0 ACC) vs. No. 2 Maryland (6-0, 0-0 Large 10)
When: Thursday, Nov. 25 at 11 a.m. ET
The place: Baha Mar Conference Heart in Nassau, the Bahamas
Methods to watch/pay attention: FloHoops/GoPack All-Access
Key to the matchup: NC State’s protection. The Wolfpack need to make this a low-scoring recreation. Baylor acquired it all the way down to the 70s and practically gained. Maryland needs to dwell within the 80s and 90s and will probably be robust to beat it if it will get there. All offenses, even the good ones, are liable to lulls and NC State wants to ensure the Terps fall into some. Owusu goes to be reluctant to shoot threes so the Wolfpack may give her some area, however it’s a must to watch out that she would not beat you on these lengthy twos she is so good at. One other factor is that Cunane can have the peak benefit over Maryland’s bigs (Reese and Collins) and could possibly disrupt them within the paint.