Maryland women’s basketball couldn’t withstand No. 1 South Carolina’s depth and size Friday night, crumbling in the second half en route to an 81-56 defeat inside a jam-packed XFINITY Center.
Without senior guard Diamond Miller, the Terps — already mismatched against the Gamecocks — could not keep up with the onslaught of weapons on both sides of the floor.
“I thought [we] did a great job executing the game plan. The third quarter got away from us, obviously because of the depth that they had and their size and experience. But we’ll get there,” head coach Brenda Frese said.
The Terps will look to get back in the win column as Fordham comes to town Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. with streaming available on Big Ten Plus.
Fordham Rams (2-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
2021-22 record: 19-11 (8-6 Atlantic 10)
Fordham is off to a quick start this year, defeating Yale by double digits before dismantling Saint Peter’s, 81-39; the Rams set a program record for steals in a game against the Peacocks.
The Rams let go of former 11-year head coach Stephanie Gaitley this past June, despite her leading the Rams to nine postseason berths and two Atlantic 10 championships.
Taking over in the interim role is Candice Green, who spent the past three years with the group as an assistant.
Picked to finish fourth in the conference by the league’s coaches, the Rams are coming off their sixth straight WNIT appearance. Last year, they exited in the first round of the tournament at the hands of Bucknell.
This experienced group, whose starting lineup holds the most collective minutes of any Division I team in the nation, will look to make significant strides this season, starting with a top 25 matchup in College Park.
Players to know
Asiah Dingle, graduate guard, five-foot-five, No. 3 — Honored this preseason with second team all-conference and All-Defensive Team accolades, Dingle leads this team on both sides of the court. After transferring to the school last season, she started in 28 games, leading the Rams in both steals and scoring. In the Rams’ win Thursday at Saint Peter’s, she posted 19 points and a staggering 10 steals.
Jada Dapaa, graduate forward, five-foot-11, No. 21 — The St. Francis (Pa.) transfer is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive end despite standing at under six feet. A four-year starter with the Red Flashes, the North Bethesda, Maryland, native averaged close to nine rebounds a game and exploded in her season year. Her 2021-22 campaign was her best as she was named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player. She finished last season with 12.6 boards per game, good enough for third in the country.
Anna DeWolfe, senior guard, five-foot-eight, No. 2 — A four-year starter and team captain, DeWolfe has started in 81 straight games for the Rams. She was unsurprisingly named to the conference’s preseason first team after an electric 2021-22 season. She was a First Team All-Conference and All-Metropolitan selection last year. The senior is a knockdown shooter and one of the most decorated offensive talents in program history. She currently sits 10th all-time for points scored at Fordham and is creeping toward 2,000 career points this season.
Experience. Fordham is one of the most veteran teams across Division I basketball, with its starting rotation of two graduate transfers and three seniors having 20 years of collective collegiate experience.
“There are there are no easy games,” Frese said. “I’ve looked at Fordham. It’s a veteran-led team that has two grad transfers and a couple of seniors and they’re playing really well.”
Lack of success against AP Top 25 teams. Fordham has been a regular in postseason play and always fighting for a conference title, but it has struggled to find success against top 25 opponents. With a 1-5 record in its last six meetings against ranked teams, Fordham will look to collect an unfamiliar win.
Three things to watch
1. How will Maryland bounce back? Early-season losses are an unusual sight for the Terps under Frese, but they will be right back at home Sunday afternoon to take on the Rams. A 25-point loss surely stings, but the challenge South Carolina brought should serve as an important learning experience for this team. Frese was proud of her team’s ability to compete Friday night and noted that success will come if they “keep the energy and effort.”
2. Injury concerns. Already struggling with depth and injuries, Maryland was dealt another blow Friday as sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers went down with an ankle injury. Frese had no update on her status postgame.
“We put the best team out on the floor with whoever is healthy, but this is the unfortunate part with injuries,” Frese added. “We’ll recover and be smart with our team and get them ready for a quick turnaround.”
3. Will the Abby Meyers show continue? The senior guard has been outstanding to begin the season. She carried the offense in Friday’s loss with 21 points; no other Terp logged more than 10. Through two games, she’s up to 40 points, 12 boards and 4 assists.