Scouting report: Iowa women’s basketball takes on Maryland for conference title

The No. 1 seed Terrapins were the nation’s best offensive team heading into the tournament.


Kate Heston

The Big Ten logo and a basketball are seen during a semifinal game of the Big Ten women’s basketball tournament. Iowa, ranked No. 6, took on No. 7 seeded Michigan State in Indianapolis at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse Friday afternoon. The Hawks beat the Spartans, 87-72, advancing the Hawks to take on Maryland Saturday in the Big 10 finals.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

INDIANAPOLIS — No. 1 seed Maryland will be a challenge for No. 6 Iowa in the Big Ten championship game Saturday.

Maryland — ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll — easily took care of business against No. 5 seed Northwestern Friday with an 88-52 victory. Six players scored in double-digits, with Alaysia Styles leading the way with 15 points.

As a team, the Terrapins shot 58.6 percent from the field while limiting the Wildcats to 29.7 percent. Angel Reese had a double-double in the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

To somewhat of a shock, Maryland’s quarterfinals game Thursday against No. 8 seed Nebraska was much closer, which Maryland won, 83-73.

The Cornhuskers actually got a fourth quarter lead and were 60-57 with 8:55 left in the game. But the Terrapins stormed back after that point to seal the deal. Ashley Owusu led the team with 22 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. She made seven free throws in the fourth quarter to help the Terrapins to victory.

Maryland shot worse against Nebraska than it did against Northwestern, as it made 46 percent of its shots from the field.

Evident by their last game, the Terrapins are a scoring machine, as they averaged 91.3 points per game heading into the tournament, which was the most in the nation. They are the only team in the nation with six players scoring in double-digits.

With that level of scoring comes other high rankings in the nation for the Terrapins. As they headed into the tournament, the Terrapins were second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 41.2 percent. They also were second in assist/turnover ratio at 1.6, fourth in field goal percentage at 49 percent, and seventh in both assists per game at 19.9 and scoring margin at +21.

Unsurprisingly, many Terrapins received Big Ten honors at the end of the regular season. Owusu and Diamond Miller were named to the All-Big Ten First Team while Katie Benzan earned a spot on the second team. They also had two players earn Honorable Mention, which were Chloe Bibby and Mimi Collins. Angel Reese was awarded a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

Iowa lost 111-93 in the only meeting between the two teams in the 2020-21 season on Feb. 23. The Hawkeyes had a terrible first quarter in which they gave up 41 points, and they never had the lead at any point of the game.

Benzan led all Terrapins with 29 points that day, and Miller was right behind her with 27 points. Owusu had double-double with 24 points and 12 assists.

Caitlin Clark led the way for Iowa with 34 points. Monika Czinano scored 17 points, while McKenna Warnock scored 16 points to give the Hawkeyes three players scoring in double-figures in the matchup against Maryland.

This is the seventh consecutive time Maryland has made the Big Ten title game, which is a first in conference history on either the men’s or women’s side. Maryland won the tournament in 2015-17 and 2020.

Iowa defeated Maryland in the conference championship game in 2019.

The game will tipoff at 1 p.m. CST and will be televised on ESPNU.

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