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Terps spread offensive wealth, tighten defensive clamps and thump Gophers

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Diamond Miller and Shyanne Sellers were all smiles sitting on the bench as the fourth quarter clock waned Friday inside Xfinity Center. The pair watched their teammates finish the work they started, clapping and cheering as Maryland put the finishing touches on a 107-85 win over Minnesota.

The No. 16 Terrapins (11-3, 2-1 Big Ten) didn’t need their two leading scorers for the final minutes, breezing past Minnesota (8-6, 1-2) for their final win of 2022 in a game in which all 10 players who checked in entered the scoring column.

“Our offense is really flowing,” Coach Brenda Frese said. “That’s a hard matchup when everybody scores, and [with] championship teams you have to have three, four, five scorers in double figures.”

Miller led the way, scoring a team-high 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting to go with five steals and three assists. Sellers added 19 points and nine rebounds.

Abby Meyers (17 points, five assists) and Lavender Briggs (14 points in 27 minutes) also reached double figures for Maryland.

Maryland took a nine-point lead into halftime, a margin that was as narrow as it was in large part thanks to Gophers freshman Mara Braun, who scored seven straight points to keep Minnesota close after the Gophers trailed by 19 in the second quarter.

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The Gophers’ run was a topic of conversation for Maryland at halftime. Miller said the Terps needed to “weather the storm.” Instead, Maryland unleashed a storm of its own, outscoring the Gophers 35-22 in the third quarter to seize control.

Briggs, the Florida transfer whom Frese dubbed Maryland’s X-factor, scored 10 points in the quarter. Minnesota simply had no one to guard her.

“[Briggs] is a big-time SEC guard, over 1,000-point scorer, so if we want to go as far as we want to go, we have to have Lav,” Frese said. “It starts with Lav; love everything about the way she played today. And again you’re seeing our team kind of moving that needle.”

In a turbulent year marked by player transfers and roster overhaul, the Terps closed out 2022 on a high note. It was a “fun” end to the year, Miller said, one that Sellers hopes spills over into 2023.

“For the 2023 season, we want to win,” Sellers said with a smile. “That’s our New Year’s resolution, to keep winning.”

Here’s what else to know about the Terps’ win:

The Terps forced 23 turnovers and nabbed 13 steals in the win while limiting their own turnovers to just six. Frese lauded her players’ ability to digest film over their extended break, which helped them focus on their defense in practice.

“It was something when we came back from the break that we thought we could start being more aggressive,” Frese said. “We spent two days in practice with it, and just a terrific response.”

Frese coached against a familiar face. Leading the Gophers was Lindsay Whalen, a Minnesota graduate who played for Frese during her 2001-02 coaching stint in Minneapolis.

Whalen averaged more than 22 points that season as the Frese-led team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to North Carolina.

Frese left for Maryland the following season, becoming the winningest coach in Terrapins basketball history, while Whalen went on to become a four-time WNBA champion and has her jersey retired inside Minnesota’s Williams Arena.

Maryland earned the win in its first LGBTQ+ Pride Game. The players wore white shirts with “PRIDE” emblazoned across their chests during pregame warmups, and rainbow-colored tote bags and pride flags were distributed to fans in attendance.

“It meant a lot to us,” Sellers said. “We want everyone to feel included. … So [we’re] just making everyone felt welcome.”

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