So I’m hoping that those of you who are interested in my Olympic Sports writing will continue to read through the winter as I write about MD Women’s Basketball. I skipped last Saturday’s loss at St. Joe’s because (a) I didn’t see the game – though I got plenty of feedback from people who did – (b) I was just so down about the other losses that I didn’t want to write about another one and was afraid I might write something inappropriate. With that preface, let me get on to tonight’s game.
The Terps returned home after Saturday’s tough 50-49 loss at St. Joe’s to take out their frustration on a young American University Eagles team. Credit to AU for their effort, they played hard throughout but they were little more than cannon fodder for a much more talented Terrapin squad. AU did lead briefly at 2-0 when Alicia DeVaughn who had been tipping the opening jump back to 6’1” Laurent Mincy tapped it over the head of 5’9” Chloe Pavlech who made her first start as Maryland’s point guard. After the Eagles made two free throws, the Terps ran off 20 of the next 24 points to roll out to a fourteen point lead. Tianna Hawkins fully recovered from the bug that slowed her down on Saturday had six points in the stretch. Maryland showed a fine propensity for sharing the ball garnering 7 assists on the ten baskets. Freshman Malina Howard’s steal and fast break lay-in capped the run. As the Terps continued to stretch out its lead, Coach Frese managed playing time for all 9 healthy players on the roster. Maryland’s lead hit 22 at 35-13 with about six and a half minutes remaining in the first half on Katie Rutan’s first three-point basket of the night. By the time the half rolled around the Terrapins were up by twenty-six.
Maryland opened the second half on a 6-2 run that was almost a lay-up drill with all three baskets coming deep in the paint coming from three different players (Mincy, DeVaughn, & Thomas). The Terps continued to play solid defense and exploit their advantage on the inside and the lead ballooned up to 36 with fifteen and a half minutes remaining. At this point the Eagles went on a mini run scoring 5 straight and began to make a few shots dropping in 3 consecutive three pointers over the next three minutes. Maryland freshmen Howard and Pavlech answered with back to back bombs of their own to keep the lead at thirty-four going into the under 12 media time out. With the lead sitting at 73-39, the only question for those in attendance was whether the Terps would break the 100 point barrier for the first time this season. In the end, the answer would be close but not quite as Maryland finished with a 94-54 rout. Tianna Hawkins led the Terps in scoring for the third time in four outings bagging 25 points on 10-13 shooting. Joining T-Hawk in double figures were Alicia DeVaughn with 17, Malina Howard whose 16 points established a new career high early in the freshman’s career, and junior transfer Katie Rutan who added ten. The Terps had 29 assists on 40 baskets for an impressive 72.5% assist ratio. Pavlech led the way with 8 and only 2 turnovers while Mincy added seven and had only a single turnover. As a team, the Terrapins turned the ball over only fourteen times. In one of the big shocks of the night (NOT!) Maryland out rebounded American 45-19 with 25 of MD’s boards coming on the offensive end. The road (literally and figuratively) gets much tougher for Maryland as they will travel to Lincoln to take on 23rd ranked Nebraska in the ACC/B1G Challenge one week from tonight before traveling to Hartford to take on the 2nd ranked Huskies on December 3. The Terps next home game will be the ACC season opener against UVA on December 6th.