The Terrapins' final tune-up before the regular season against Indiana University of Pennsylvania wasn't supposed to be competitive and the game lived up to that billing.
The size advantage for Maryland was so pronounced that when Malina Howard pulled down a board under the basket early in the first quarter, her feet didn't even leave the floor when she laid it back in off the glass.
The outcome of the game was seemingly decided in the game's opening seconds, not minutes.
It took Brionna Jones six seconds to score the game's opening points. About 40 seconds after that, she corralled a rebound and scored an easy bucket. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored seven straight points before Megan Smith finally got IUP on the board three minutes into the game. The score was 11-2 in the blink of an eye.
Another example of the stark advantage that Maryland held in terms of the sheer caliber of athletes on its roster was evident with about two and a half minutes left to play in the first quarter. After a rebound, Brianna Fraser heaved up an outlet pass for Brene Moseley. It was a 50-50 ball. Moseley and a Crimson Hawks defender went up for it. Moseley came down with it. The IUP defender fell on her back. Moseley was fouled while hitting an off-balance layup, and converted the old-school three point play to make the score 23-8.
After 10 minutes of play, it was 27-12 going into the second quarter.
The Terps used an early 12-0 run in the span of just two and a half minutes to stretch the lead to 27. The visitors never got within more than 25 points for the rest of the game.
IUP's highlight of the night was probably when Marina Wareham buried a three-pointer with four seconds left to go in the half. That three ball trimmed the Crimson Hawks' deficit to a mere 28 points.
The Terps used their height advantage to grab 30 boards in the half, double that of the Crimson Hawks. 16 of those were on the offensive end and Maryland's repeated easy looks at the basket helped them shoot a shade under 49 percent from the floor in the first half.
Maryland picked up where they left off, pounding the ball inside to start the second half. The Terps scored on their first five trips down the floor. Four of the five baskets were layups.
The Terps started the second half leading by 28. Not much changed. They went to the fourth and final quarter leading by 34.
The outcome of the game wasn't in question going into the fourth quarter. The only question was whether or not the Terrapins would reach the 100-point mark, as they did in their first exhibition game against Goldey-Beacom. The answer to that question appeared to be no but Kiah Gillespie's tip-in brought Maryland to 99 with 1:04 left to play in the game. After a shot-clock violation on IUP, Fraser got a tip-in with 10 seconds left and Maryland won going away, 101-56.
Maryland was simply too much for IUP. Too big. Too fast. Too strong. Too athletic. Too disciplined. Too talented.
Maryland usually took whatever they wanted on offense and what they wanted was to get close, easy looks at the basket. They did that for the entire game. It is worth noting that the Terps missed at least six or seven shots from within two feet. It is also rare for a team to have more offensive rebounds than defensive ones, but that is exactly what Maryland accomplished tonight. They grabbed 58 rebounds in total and 31 of them came on the offensive end. The Crimson Hawks did an admirable job on the glass, pulling down 28 boards, but the Terps still out-rebounded them by 30.
Two other indicators of how dominant Maryland was tonight in the paint were the points in the paint and second chance points. Maryland scored 52 points in the paint. Just over half of their scoring came from inside the lane. Maryland also turned their 31 offensive rebounds into 34 second chance points. When they got second opportunities, they usually finished. The Terps also showed how deep their team is, with three of their reserves scoring in double digits.
Normally, when a team wins by 45 points, it's hard to find much to complain about. However, there were some obvious issues that Maryland had tonight that will need to be addressed as the season progresses.
Maryland missed far too many easy shots from five feet or closer. Even though they had 58 rebounds, they allowed IUP to get 28 boards as well. That's a lot of rebounds for a team who had their two tallest players combine for just two rebounds in a combined 18 minutes of action.
The three-point shooting has to improve. IUP played a zone defense and Maryland couldn't seem to find their groove from deep. The Terps shot 5-20 for a paltry 25 percent. In the future, Maryland has to punish teams that go to the zone by shooting well. This Maryland team is built to exploit both zone and man-to-man coverage but they couldn't get any kind of rhythm going from beyond the arc. "We need to spend a lot more time making the zone play us and attacking the zone," Frese said after the game.
Free throws are important. Kiara Leslie missed all four of her attempts from the charity stripe. If she is exposed as a poor free throw shooter, teams are going to go after her late in games and Frese will have to pull her. That could create defensive problems for Maryland since all three of the potential point guards that would replace her are at least three inches shorter than Leslie.
Maryland's season starts in earnest next Saturday against UMass Lowell. They should glide through their first five games before they get Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
This team is as advertised. They are big, they are talented and they are deep. This program is coming off of their second straight Final Four appearance. The expectation is that this team will be heading to Indianapolis in April.
It has been almost a decade since Frese and the Terps beat Duke in overtime and cut down the nets in Boston. This team aspires to do the same. Will they make their third straight Final Four? Will they return to the NCAA Finals for the first time in 10 years? Only time will tell. That is the bottom line.