When Emma Chardon hit a second-chance hookshot with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter, No. 3 Maryland women’s basketball’s bench erupted in celebration for the first-year forward.
It would have been easy to check out and coast mentally in a game decided after the first quarter. But that’s not the mentality that Maryland showed on Thursday night in the 108-66 win over UNC Wilmington.
“I thought our effort was there tonight,” head coach Brenda Frese said after the game. “I thought we competed hard for the 40 minutes.”
Five Terps logged double-digit scoring, junior guard Diamond Miller made her season debut and Maryland’s playmaking prowess was on full display at Xfinity Center.
In the final tuneup before Sunday’s heavyweight battle with No. 6 Baylor, Maryland shot 52% from the floor, almost 40% from three and notched a season-high 108 points.
Here are several takeaways from the matchup with the Seahawks.
Unselfish play is the Maryland way.
Maryland has so many players who can go off on any given night because of the ball movement that precipitates those big scoring games.
Frese and her coaching staff have instilled an unselfish mentality into the team, and team-first play leads to 100-plus-point outings. Maryland’s 108 total points on Thursday night was the first time it has hit the century mark this season and the fourth-straight game it has scored over 80 points.
“I thought our unselfishness, once we started going through we were able to show just kind of how many weapons we have and how versatile we are,” Frese said. “I thought, for the most part, the effort was there, and we’re just continuing to keep getting better every single time we step out and play.”
Unselfish play also means contributing on both ends of the floor, dominating the glass and reading the game. And redshirt junior Mimi Collins epitomized that attitude all night. Collins went off for 21 points, nine rebounds and one steal.
“We’re trying to play the Maryland standard,” Collins said. “We do still have our ups and downs. We still have stuff to work on, but just believe we’re trying to live up to the Maryland standard.”
The Terps have plenty of coaching from the bench.
Forward/guard Angel Reese played just one minute in the final frame of Thursday’s game. By the time she left the court, the sophomore standout had 23 points, 12 rebounds — nine of which were on the offensive glass — five steals and two blocks.
And while the stat line is impressive, it was the Baltimore native’s work from the bench that made her evening special. Reese was out of her chair for almost nine minutes in the fourth quarter, supporting and coaching her teammates.
“I think it just builds their confidence, having me on the sideline, yelling at them, helping them out offensively and defensively,” Reese said. “They can hear my voice throughout everything. I think it’s an important thing to have the bench just as important to be on the court.”
Reese specifically made it a point to talk to Chardon in the fourth quarter.
“Emma is a freshman, so we want to build that confidence in her and just making sure that she has that big sister [on her] shoulder,” Reese said. “We want to make sure she knows all the plays and make sure she can hear everything and echo everything.”
Reese is empowered to encourage her teammates because she benefited from similar support with people talking to her on the sideline from last season.
“I think having that confidence, especially last year, from these guys as a freshman, I think helped a lot, so our chemistry is amazing,” she said.
Maryland’s assist-to-turnover ratio continues to be impressive.
After leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio last season, Maryland was back at it against Thursday night. The Terps had 23 assists to just three for UNC Wilmington.
“I love the stat when you talk about 23 assists and three turnovers,” Frese said.
Maryland had just one giveaway in the final period and that was with a younger and more inexperienced lineup on the floor. With most of the starters out, freshman Shyanne Sellers ran the offense. In just her fifth collegiate match, the Ohio native had 13 points, four rebounds, nine assists and three steals.
“That’s my favorite part of her stat line, nine assists,” Frese said of Sellers. “No turnovers, coming for Angel’s steals. Defensively, high motor, athletic, really making a lot of plays. I thought she did a phenomenal job running the team tonight.”
Assist-to-turnover ratio is not the only statistical category Maryland led the country last season; the Terps led NCAA in scoring offense. On Sunday, Maryland will be challenged beyond what it has seen in its first couple of games, but the team is ready for an elite competitor after claiming five wins in as many games to start the season.
“We welcome the challenge of playing one of the toughest schedules in the country,” guard Katie Benzan said. “So having that opportunity to show what we have and show what’s happening in College Park.”