COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP)For Maryland coach Brenda Frese, this was an almost ideal way to start a busy week.
The Terrapins led Penn State by 20 after the first quarter on Monday night and were never really threatened after that. They won easily, and nobody even had to play 28 minutes.
”It was terrific. That’s where we need to be,” Frese said. ”Three games in seven days this week. We talked about it, the Big Ten Tournament, you’re going to be playing multiple games back to back, so extending that depth is really important.”
Abby Meyers scored 24 points and Diamond Miller added 14 in No. 8 Maryland’s 87-66 win. The Terrapins face No. 6 Iowa on Thursday and No. 10 Ohio State on Sunday, but they made short work of the Lady Lions, holding them to 18 points in the first half.
”I think it’s definitely exciting, obviously great opportunities ahead,” Maryland’s Shyanne Sellers said. ”I think it really comes down to just being the most disciplined team.”
Maryland (18-4, 9-2 Big Ten) closed the opening quarter with a 20-2 run and made its final nine shots of the period. The Terps have won 11 of 12.
Maryland, which trails Big Ten-leading Indiana by a game in the loss column, led 9-7 before blitzing Penn State (12-10, 3-8) over the latter half of the first quarter. Meyers and Miller scored six points each during the run, and the Terps were up 29-9 after one.
A 3-pointer by Meyers in the final seconds of the half put Maryland up 41-18. The Princeton transfer finished with her highest point total since joining the Terps before this season. Her career high is 29 from a win over Kentucky in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
”Obviously Abby Meyers did a phenomenal job, slicing up our zone and cutting. She’s such a smart player in terms of where to flash and where to rotate,” Penn State coach Carolyn Kieger said. ”Diamond Miller, I think is one of the top five players in the country, the way that she plays downhill. She’s one of my favorites to watch, one of my least favorites to play against.”
Makenna Marisa scored 23 points for Penn State, which has dropped five of six.
Sellers scored 15 points for Maryland, which shot 13 of 17 in the first quarter and finished at 53% for the game.
The Terps used 10 players, nine of whom were in for at least 9:17. Reserves Brinae Alexander and Bri McDaniel scored eight points apiece.
”Loved our start. I thought in our first half especially, we just got after it defensively, turning turnovers into points,” Frese said. ”We were able to have everybody get in the game, share the basketball and everybody grabbed a rebound.”
Penn State: The Lady Lions shot 24% from the field in the first half, although they did shoot 60% in the second. Penn State scored 31 points in the third quarter.
”I think we just started following the game plan,” Kieger said. ”We calmed down a little bit. We got some easy steals in there and started sharing the basketball a little bit more and got some rebounds.”
Maryland: The Terps continue to impress after surrounding Miller with several transfers this season. They pushed the pace early, and this was the first time in six games Maryland surpassed 80 points.
Maryland’s Elisa Pinzan scored four points and needs four more to reach 1,000 for her career.
Penn State: The Lady Lions host Northwestern on Thursday night.
Maryland: The Terps play at Iowa on Thursday night.
Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister
AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25