Bibby scores 23 to lead Maryland’s No.10 to Minnesota 87-73

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Chloe Bibby scored 23 points to lead a balanced attack and help the No.10 Maryland beat Minnesota 87-73 on Sunday.

Angel Reese added 19 points and 10 rebounds for Maryland (12-4, 4-1 in the Big Ten), while Ashley Owusu had 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists without a turnaround. Diamond Miller had 12 points and six assists.

Deja Winters led Minnesota (8-8, 1-3) with 20 of 6 points for 12 shots over the 3-point line. Sara Scalia scored 19 points, Kadi Sissoko 15 points and Alanna Micheaux took 12 rebounds.

The Terrapins used their pressure defense and transition play to gain control in the second half. They outscored Minnesota 19-7 on the quick break and scored 22 points on turnovers just four for the Gophers.

“I thought (Owusu) had done a great job as a floor general,” Bibby said. “We always feel good when the ball is in his hands. She’s going to make a great decision anyway. We were just trying to have energy and effort. We wanted our defense to create offense and I think we sometimes did in our transition, and that’s what really got us going.

Maryland led in double digits at the start, but the Gophers, playing their first home game in almost a month, made it a game. Winters’ sixth 3-pointer brought Minnesota down to one point at 49-48 midway through the third quarter.

But in one crucial stretch, the Gophers made three quick turnovers and Maryland made it count. A transition layup from Miller and a jumper from Owusu quickly helped bring the lead back to nine, and Minnesota didn’t come close to five points the rest of the way.

“I’m proud of the way our team fought. We’ve responded and responded to every race they’ve done, ”said Minnesota assistant coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis. “We only had a few turnovers, a few offensive rebounds here and there that put them on the map.”

The Terrapins set the tone from the start, pushing the ball to the ground and forcing Minnesota to rush into the transition defense. But the shorthanded Gophers, who missed point guard Jasmine Powell due to a family affair, stayed close in a quick first half.

Miller carried much of the early scoring burden for Maryland. She scored her first two 3 points and rose to 4 for 4 from the floor for 10 points as Maryland led 24-14 after the first quarter.

The Gophers were held scoreless for a five-minute stretch that spanned the first two quarters, but they came off largely, thanks to Winters. The senior 5-11, a graduate transfer from North Carolina A&T, scored four straight 3-pointers in 2.5 minutes. The fourth reduced Maryland’s lead to 29-26 midway through the second quarter.

Owusu responded for the Terrapins with 3 straight runs, but Scalia then made two straight buckets for Minnesota to narrow the lead to 36-34.

Bibby then took over, converting a three-point play after a bogus ball and driving layup and adding a transition basket to help Maryland take a five-point lead at halftime.

“I thought our defense got us going on our offense, being able to push and get a lot of points from the turnovers against them,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “We were disappointed to let Winters score 15 points (in the second quarter), and I just thought that collectively we did a better job focusing on the defense.”

WHALEN OUT AGAIN

Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen missed her second straight game after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Jan.4. The school announced that Whalen plans to return to the team on January 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins continued to handle cases against unranked teams. Their four losses this season came against teams ranked in the top 10 at the time of the match.

Minnesota: Powell having missed the game, Scalia took over the point guard on Sunday. Minnesota’s top scorer with 15.1 points per game didn’t miss a beat in her scoring duties, but the absence of Powell, whose 5.7 assists per game are good for third place in the Big Ten , was certainly a factor in Minnesota’s 17 turnovers.

FOLLOWING

Maryland has another chance to defeat a Top 10 team when they host No.9 Michigan on Sunday.

Minnesota visits Wisconsin Wednesday.

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More AP Women’s Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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