No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball capped off its exhibition slate with a 125-33 victory over Georgian Court.
Seven Terps scored 10 or more points and three hit the 20-point mark and they will now get set to kick off their regular season against Longwood on Tuesday, Nov. 9. With the win, Maryland officially went 2-0 in its only two exhibition games.
It wasn’t a perfect start for the No. 4 team in the nation against Division II Georgian Court as the Terps’ first attempt was blocked at the rim and sophomore forward Angel Reese was called for an offensive foul.
10 straight points for Maryland, six of which came on back-to-back threes from graduate students Katie Benzan and Chloe Bibby, forced Georgian Court coach Jasmina Perazic to call a timeout after just two and a half minutes played.
Perazic, who played for the Terps from 1979-1983 and led the team to three straight ACC titles and the 1982 Final Four, was honored before the game at half court; Perazic’s No. 4 hangs in the rafters at Xfinity Center.
The Lions netted their first basket of the night — a put-back two — at the 6:24 mark, but the hosts already held a 13-point lead. By the end of the first frame, the scoreboard favored Maryland, 33–11.
Reese, who was on the court for only two minutes in the first quarter, started the second with four points, two rebounds and one steal.
“I’m just letting the game come to me,” Reese said. “My teammates have my back. I want to be the best defender I can. I want to be the best defensive player and then let the offensive game come.”
After logging just four points in the first, junior guard Ashley Owusu had seven in the opening three minutes of the period. The lone blemish on Owusu’s game came at the line, where she was 6-for-10. A Bibby three at about the five minutes mark pushed the Terps past the 50-point threshold.
A 26-4 run over six and a half minutes in the second helped Maryland to a 46-point halftime advantage.
Georgian Court hit its first three of the match with about seven minutes remaining in the third, courtesy of Baltimore native Tian Addison. The junior guard finished with a team-high seven points. The Lions then marched down the court for two more points, which forced Maryland associate head coach Karen Blair to ask for a stoppage.
Blair ran the bench Thursday evening in the final exhibition matchup, with head coach Brenda Frese on the bench with the team.
“Karen is a phenomenal coach and I am so fortunate to have had her by my side leading our team for the past four years,” Frese said. “Karen has 23 years of coaching experience and leading teams. I truly believe in giving everyone, from our staff to our players, opportunities and experiences that help them grow. Karen has earned this and I’m thrilled to give it to her.”
With about 60 seconds remaining in the third, Benzan knocked down a trio of threes for nine of her 20 points. The Terps hit the century mark in the dying seconds of the third after Faith Masonius drained an elbow two.
“Just playing with these teammates, they find me when I’m open, and tonight it went in and so it felt really good,” Benzan said. “As coach said, we can score the ball.”
The fourth gave the coaching staff a chance to assess several young players. Four underclassmen — Reese, Shyanne Sellers, Emma Chardon and Taisiya Kozlova — combined for 17 of the team’s 23 points in the final quarter en route to the win.
Three things to know
1. Three Maryland players tied for a team-high 20 points. Benzan led the way from behind the arc, shooting 6-for-8. Owusu, despite playing 20 minutes, put up 20 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sellers, the No. 22 recruit in the Class of 2021, continued her strong start with the Terps. Sellers finished with 20 points and six assists on 8-for-11 shooting from the field. She also logged a team-high 30 minutes.
“Me, the younger one on the court, it’s really a learning experience for all of us, kind of get our feet wet,” Sellers said. “I’m just trying to keep people involved and try for that comfortability level.”
2. Strong shooting resulted in the 125-point outing. Whatever the home side did before the game worked. The Terps made 66.2% of their shots from the field, 72.2 from three and 70 from the charity stripe. The magic of Maryland's offense is that they don’t rely on one single player to run the offense. One of the team’s strengths is sharing the ball and that showed against Georgian Court.
“Maryland basketball is about putting the ball in the hoop,” Blair said during the postgame press conference. “I thought we shared the basketball extremely well,”
3. Maryland’s high-flying offense hasn’t skipped a beat heading into the new season. Last season, Maryland was the top scoring offense in the nation scoring 90.8 points per game. In two exhibition games so far, the Terps have scored a ridiculous 245 points. The Terps’ offense is seemingly bound to maintain the totals it had last year on offense. With the depth that Maryland has once again, the odds of the program staying as one of the top offenses in the country is looking likely.