No. 14 Maryland did not play like itself against DePaul to kick off the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament Friday. Twenty-four hours later, it displayed a version that fans have grown accustomed to seeing against in-state foe Towson.
With the exception of some late foul trouble, the Terps' offense clicked on all cylinders in the fourth quarter allowing for an 81-70 victory at Suncoast Credit Union Arena.
Maryland was led by its only true seniors. Forwards Diamond Miller and Faith Masonius combined for 34 points on 14 of 22 shooting. The pair helped their team execute solid shot selection across the board Saturday and allowed Maryland to get off to a better start than what transpired the day prior.
“Faith is a glue player,” Miller said. “She does the things that nobody else wants to do and she does it consistently so that’s why she has to stay on the court. It’s kind of cool to see her have this role because last year she got hurt and wasn't able to do that. So the fact that she’s bounced back the way she does, I’m just so happy and proud of her.”
Towson kept pace and traded punches the whole first quarter. It never wavered when Masonius knocked down shots or when Miller started to heat up.
Maryland took a few punches off the chin when Towson went on a double-digit scoring run midway through the second quarter, which gave it a late first-half lead. The Terps dealt one back with a 7-0 run to end the first half. Both teams shot 44% from the field in the first half.
The star power for Maryland is evident. It has a plethora of sharpshooters and experience, but credit Towson for limiting it throughout the game. It was a combined effort from Abby Meyers, Shyanne Sellers and Brinae Alexander combined for 14 of the 24 fourth-quarter points.
“The strongest teams I’ve ever coached is when you have five players average in double-figures and we need that kind of scoring ... I don't think it’s realistic, obviously to say to Diamond that she’s got to score 30 a night and nor does she need to play that way, Frese said.
“Championship teams spread that wealth so you’re hard to guard,”
The lineup that Frese typically puts out looked a little different Saturday. Sellers got the nod in the starting lineup in place of graduate student and Florida transfer Lavender Briggs, who struggled again, finishing the game scoreless and 0 of 5 from the field.
“The starting lineup isn’t set in stone and I’m not sure moving forward it’ll continue to be this way,” Frese said. “It’s going to be really half-to-half and game-to-game.”
The Terps will finish the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament Sunday against Pitt at 11:30 a.m.
Three things to know
1. Turning turnovers into points. Towson committed 13 turnovers in the first half and three in the second. Maryland converted those into 15 points off turnovers Saturday.
2. A Maryland connection. Towson head coach Laura Harper, who is in her first season leading the Tigers, helped bring Maryland its first national championship in 2006 under Frese; she was the Most Outstanding Player in the 2006 Final Four. Harper previously was the head coach at Coppin State University.
3. Masonius deserves credit. Coming back from an ACL tear is not easy but when Masonius says she felt 100%, her play has backed up that so far this season. Masonius finished with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and was tied for a team-high +19 in 32 minutes of play.
“If we didn’t have Faith, I’m not sure where we would be,” Frese told the broadcasters directly after the game.