Maryland women’s basketball Coach Brenda Frese saw a lack of preparedness and focus ahead of her team’s New Year’s Eve upset loss to Rutgers, so she took advantage of the fact that her Terrapins are still on winter break and assigned them a little homework.
Frese had her players prepare the scouting reports for Ohio State, pages and pages of detail on each player from the Big Ten rival that had beaten them in their previous meeting, the league tournament championship in March. The Terps’ studying paid off Saturday at Xfinity Center, as No. 4 Maryland hung on for a 75-69 win against the Buckeyes.
It was the 499th victory for Frese, who is just 20 years into her career as a head coach. She will go for No. 500 at Nebraska on Tuesday.
“I thought we showed our character down the stretch, especially in the fourth quarter,” Frese said of Saturday’s win. “We had to get stops on the defensive end. We were able to step up, and we forced them into five turnovers in that stretch. . . . We’re still trying to learn ourselves with our strengths and our weaknesses, and obviously with the competition every night that we face, understanding that we’re going to get everyone’s best shot.”
Just as in previous conference games against Penn State and Rutgers, Maryland (13-1, 2-1 Big Ten) was on the receiving end of Ohio State’s best effort. The Buckeyes (4-8, 0-3) were aggressive on offense in the first half, shooting 48.1 percent against a Terps defense that took some time to adjust, particularly against 6-foot-4 forward Dorka Juhasz.
Juhasz, a freshman from Hungary, led the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season, overwhelming Maryland’s 6-foot-5 freshman center Shakira Austin along the way. Austin, the Terps’ leading rebounder who has struggled in conference play, was held to six rebounds and went scoreless, missing all six of her shots from the field.
“The thing I love about [Juhasz] is she’s got great versatility. She can score around the basket. She can shoot the three. She also can put the ball on the floor,” Ohio State Coach Kevin McGuff said. “It was fun. We saw two really talented young post players tonight, and so hopefully that can blossom, as well, to see those compete against each other in the coming years.”
With Austin having faded, junior forward Stephanie Jones took the lead on defense and for the second game this conference season Maryland played through its veterans to secure a win.
Junior Kaila Charles led the team with 24