I had fifteen minutes of press conferences and a twenty minute ride home to decide which story line to feature in Maryland's ACC home opener against Wake Forest Thursday night. Eventually, I just gave up.
Listening to the radio broadcast of Monday night's men's basketball game I heard Mark Turgeon yell three words at his team that Branda Frese never has to yell at hers, "PASS THE BALL!" The Terps had 23 assists on 31 made field goals in Thursday's 79-46 win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. "Our ball movement was really crisp and that starts with our guard play. We had a really nice inside - outside game. We're sharing the basketball making really easy looks for one another," Frese said." With the win, Maryland moved to 2-0 in ACC play and 14-1 on the season.
The streak has ended. Alyssa Thomas finished with 11 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in Maryland's 76-49 win over Wake Forest Thursday night ending her streak of double-doubles at thirteen. "I have no regrets," Thomas said. "I tried to focus on some defense today."
For the first time in her career at Maryland (though probably not the last), Shatori Walker Kimbrough led the Terps in scoring dropping in 15 points on six of ten shooting - including 3 of 6 from behind the arc - in only 17 minutes of playing time in Maryland's 76-49 win over Wake Forest Thursday night. After the game, Frese said of Walker-Kimbrough, "It's amazing to watch in terms of her productivity in her minutes. You constantly look at her box and 15 points in 17 minutes, or 10 points in 12 minutes. She's so efficient in her time on the floor. The sky's the limit. The only person who can stop Shatori is Shatori."
The depth of the Maryland women's basketball team was overwhelmingly apparent Thursday night as the Terrapins' bench outscored Wake Forest's by a 45-14 margin helping the Terps move to 2-0 in ACC play and 14-1 overall with a 76-49 win over the Demon Deacons. Said Frese, "I love that stat. We're constantly saying any given night be ready. Chloe (Pavlech) showed that tonight. In the first half toward the last eight minutes you start seeing teams wear down." Pavlech reached double digit scoring for the first time this season dropping in ten points in fifteen minutes of action. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough came off the bench to lead the Terps with 15 points. Tierney Pfirman scored eight and Brene Moseley and Malina Howard added six apiece. The bench also collected twenty of Maryland's forty-one rebounds.
Maryland's accuracy from behind the three point arc once again contributed significantly to a Terrapin win as they equaled a season high with 10 three pointers in their 76-49 win over Wake Forest Thursday night. After starting 1 for 6 from behind the arc, Maryland made 9 of their last 17 attempts to finish with a 30-3 margin over the Demon Deacons in that statistical category. "The difference this year is how many consistent three point shooters we have," said Terrapins coach Brenda Frese. "We have so many great three point shooters - obviously led by Shatori. She's at a ridiculous rate of over fifty percent."
After being out rebounded 20-16 by Wake Forest in the first half, the Terrapins hit the boards with a vengeance in the second half to more than doubling up the Demon Deacons' total to finish with a 41-32 rebounding margin as the Terps moved to 2-0 in ACC play with a 76-49 win. "We were a little disappointed with our effort in the first half," Frese said after the game. "They were quicker to the glass. Obviously we're a great rebounding team for a reason so that's just something we needed to focus in on a little more."
If a certain pattern continues, the Maryland women's basketball team is going to need to play with great urgency and efficiency to have a successful final season in the ACC. Fortunately for Maryland fans they did so Thursday night making 10 of their 23 three point attempts and outrebounding Wake Forest 41-32 as the Terps moved to 2-0 in league play and 14-1 overall with a 76-49 win. Though the Terrapins led for all but a minute or two early in the first half, the officials somehow managed to see only eleven Demon Deacons fouls for the game while spotting nineteen Terrapins violations and sending the visitors to the line 19 times while the home team reached the charity stripe for just six attempts.
As for the flow of the game, Wake Forest managed to stay with the Terps for much of the first half. The visitors took a one point lead at 8-7 and again at 10-9 while trailing by just four with seven minutes to play in the half. However, the Terps began to pull away as they found their range from beyond the arc starting with Pavlech's three pointer to stretch the lead to 28-21 and finishing with back to back three pointers by Shatori and Katie Rutan to close the first half scoring. This capped an 18-7 run that gave the Terps a 43-28 advantage headed into the break.
The Demon Deacons would get no closer than thirteen for the remainder of the game and by the first media timeout of the second half, the Terrapins lead was nineteen. From this point the Terps methodically left the Deacons in their wake. Fueled by a strong effort on the boards led in part by Tierney Pfirman, and a mix of inside and outside shooting Maryland outscored the visitors 19-9 over the next eight minutes to take a 70-41 advantage. With Chelsea Douglas, the ACC's second leading scorer suffering through a poor shooting night, the Terps also mixed in some zone defense to slow down Wake's Dearica Hamby who leads the league in scoring at just over 21 points per game. Hamby scored 20 points but sixteen of those came in the first half. Douglas made only one shot from the field and finished with seven points. "We saw that Douglas wasn't shooting the ball well and we felt like when we change up, it gets us communicating defensively. It makes us have to talk on every possession down the floor," said Frese.
The next time you have the chance to hear the Terps talk on every possession down the floor comes at 8:30 Thursday night January 16 when the Syracuse Orange come to Comcast Center.