As senior wing Leigha Brown dribbled down the floor after a block from senior forward Naz Hillmon on the other end, Brown looked up. Seeing junior guard Maddie Nolan ahead of her post up on the 3-point line, Brown fired a pass to Nolan. Taking the pass and squaring up the basket, Nolan unleashed her first 3-pointer of the game — of which seven more would follow.
The No. 11 Michigan women’s basketball team faced off with No. 8 Maryland Sunday in College Park. Led by a game-high 21 points from Nolan, the Wolverines unleashed a beatdown, winning 69-49. The win snapped the Terrapins’ 31-game home winning streak and marked the first win in program history at College Park.
Early full-court defensive pressure from the Terrapins couldn’t stop the Wolverines from scoring. Michigan came out white hot in the first quarter, entering the first media timeout having gone 6-for-6 from the floor. The Wolverines looked unfazed against the aggressive pressure.
Carrying the team from the outset, Nolan stayed hot from behind the 3-point line for the entire night. In the first quarter alone, she went 3-for-3, setting an immediate tone.
More of the squad also contributed from three, with Brown and freshman guard Laila Phelia nailing early 3-pointers. The Wolverines ended the first shooting 71.4% from three.
“Tonight I feel like we did a lot better (of a) job of capitalizing on and just being able to put up shots at the right times,” Brown said.
With the Terrapins concentrating their defense in the paint against Hillmon, Michigan adjusted, bringing their offense to the perimeter. Ending the first quarter with 26 points, the Wolverines outscored Maryland by 10.
“Teams are going to start double and triple teaming Naz (Hillmon),” Nolan said. “And if we can have people that can consistently knock down outside shots that’s going to be a game-changer for us.”
Against Maryland, it was.
On the opposite end, Michigan’s defense hedged hard on ball screens, forcing the Terrapins into multiple turnovers and holding them scoreless for the last two minutes of the first quarter. That narrative continued down the stretch.
Despite the slow start, Maryland tried to chip away in the second quarter. Speeding up the game, the Terrapins attempted to convert its defensive possessions into quick offensive buckets. But the Wolverines had all the momentum. Michigan held onto its lead, controlling the ball and not allowing the full-court press to disrupt their composure.
Dominant 3-point shooting persisted throughout the second quarter, with Nolan leading the charge. She opened the quarter with another 3-pointer from the wing, doubling the Wolverines’ lead. Senior guard Danielle Rauch also nailed a 3-pointer. Going into the locker room, Michigan held a comfortable 15 point halftime lead, one that would only grow.
The second half largely mirrored the first. Nolan continued to dominate from behind the 3-point line, making back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter and another in the fourth. Brown’s driving jumpers in the lane continued to stump Maryland’s defense. Bringing another layer of offensive prowess, Phelia and Hillmon also found their groove in the fourth quarter, scoring 11 and nine points, respectively.
Combined, Nolan and Brown notched 36 points, outscoring the Terrapins themselves for the majority of the game.
“Our guards stepped up and just made play after play,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “Leigha Brown is arguably one of the best if not the best guards in the country, I believe. And Maddie Nolan is one of the best 3-point shooters and I’m happy that the whole world got a chance to see that tonight.”