The University of South Florida Bulls came to Xfinity Center to face the Maryland Terrapins in a rematch of a tight women's basketball game the squads played to open last season. With Alyssa Thomas in foul trouble for most of the game, the Terps struggled to come away with a 78-70 win. This season, the Terps faced the Bulls without the graduated Thomas but with the home court advantage. Maryland used that advantage to move to 3-0 on the season with an 85-67 win.
First half - A run to open and one to close
Maryland opened the game looking as though they would run USF out of the gym in much the same way they had to Mount St. Mary's and Wagner when they scored the game's first nine points. Laurin Mincy's steal led to a layup by Brene Moseley that widened the lead to 14-2 and the Terps led 14-4 at the first media timeout.
The break seemed to settle the visitors as they began to rebound better and find some gaps in the Terrapins' defense that led to open shots. Though the Terps continued to lead by ten at the second media timeout, the Bulls made a mini comeback out of that break and scored six straight to cut Maryland's lead to 24-20.
With the officials maintaining tight control in a half when they whistled the teams for a combined 23 fouls, the game settled into a rhythm allowing USF to respond every time it looked as though the Terps might pull away. Maryland's efforts were stymied until five and a half minutes remained with the Terps leading 37-30.
At that point, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough took control. The sophomore, who would finish the half with 17 points, scored six straight and eight points in all as part of a 13-3 run that closed the half as Maryland took a 50-33 lead into the break.
Second half - More runs and running
Once again, Maryland opened the half looking as though they would win in dominating fashion. The Terps scored the first six points of the half to open a 23 point lead. Then, with Maryland leading 60-38, the Terrapins went cold from the floor and watched as the Bulls beat them at their own game running the floor for open jumpers and layups and going on a 13-3 run of their own chopping the lead to 12 and inducing head coach Brenda Frese to call two timeouts.
The second seemed the more effective. The Terrapins responded with a 12-2 run keyed by a pair of layups by Walker-Kimbrough and a pair of three point jumpers by Kristen Confroy the first coming after Confroy tapped out an offensive rebound to Mincy. But just when you thought it was safe to go to the volleyball game, USF bounced back to out score the Terps 9-2 and close to within 15 at 77-62.
By that point, the clock was the Bulls greatest enemy as barely four minutes remained. The Terps were content to trade baskets and remained on cruise control for an 85-67 win. Five Terps reached double figures led by 25 from Walker-Kimbrough. Malina Howard had a quiet double double for Maryland grabbing 11 rebounds to match her 11 points. A'Lexus Harrison came off the bench to grab seven boards as the Terps finished the contest with a slim 40-33 rebounding margin.
Maryland will travel to George Washington for a 3:30 game Saturday afternoon before returning home to host the Loyola Greyhounds.
(Note: I skipped the post game press conference to watch the fifth set of the volleyball match with Minnesota. Testudo Times willl have a report on what could have been one of the biggest upsets in Maryland history.)