BALTIMORE (AP) — Diamond Miller caught a pass at full speed and made a layup in transition, with no apparent fear about her knee.
Moments later, she made a 3-pointer.
The rout was on for No. 6 Maryland by that point, but what Miller was able to do was of greater significance for the Terrapins. They are finally looking healthy after a 98-52 victory over Coppin State on Tuesday.
“I thought the extra Christmas gift was having Diamond back,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
Miller has battled knee problems this season. She missed the first four games, then played the next two. Then she missed six more before this one.
She finished with 10 points and six rebounds and attacked the basket fearlessly.
“I trust my knee. I just have to get my touch back,” Miller said. “Everything else, I’m pretty good.”
Her 3-pointer in the first half put the Terps up 44-20.
“She’s put a ton of hard work in, and being patient to be able to get her knee right,” Frese said. “Watching her in practice, she uplifts our team. She makes everyone better.”
Katie Benzan scored 17 of her 22 points in the first half, and Chloe Bibby contributed 14 points for the Terrapins, who eased out of a difficult stretch of their schedule with this victory over an in-state opponent. Maryland was coming off a 66-59 loss at top-ranked South Carolina on Dec. 12.
The Terps (10-3) haven’t been at full strength for much of this season. Benzan missed three games last month — all against top-10 opponents — because of an illness.
She also looked healthy Tuesday. Benzan made five of her six 3-pointers in the first half to help Maryland pull away.
Coppin State (6-6) is coached by Laura Harper, who played for Frese when the Terrapins won the national title in 2006.
“I can’t even begin to explain the emotions I have, playing against the one person that pretty much made me who I am,” Harper said. “She believed in me when no one else did. In the grand scheme of coaching, this is just like a surreal moment. Obviously I don’t love losing by 50 points … but this is so cool.”
Mossi Staples led the Eagles with 16 points.
Maryland led 6-5 when Benzan made her first 3-pointer, starting a 12-0 run. It was 56-24 at halftime.
Coppin State: The Eagles gave Benzan too many open looks, but there are only so many things you can take away against an opponent like Maryland.
“We tried to shut down Angel (Reese) and Ashley (Owusu) … and then Katie Benzan has five 3s,” Harper said.
Maryland: The Terps were sharp after a layoff of more than a week. They would have been heavily favored in this game regardless, but the tough schedule they’ve played probably made this feel even easier.
Reese is from Baltimore and went to St. Frances Academy.
“It felt great having all my family and friends here,” Reese said. “A great way to go into Christmas break. I’m so happy that we won in Baltimore. Just a great thing for the city, and a lot of people came out.”
Maryland moved up three spots despite being idle for a week, and this game showed how dominant the Terps can be.
Coppin State: The Eagles play at George Mason next Tuesday.
Maryland: The Terps return to Big Ten play at Illinois on Dec. 30.
Follow Noah Trister at www.twitter.com/noahtrister
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