With just over two minutes to go in the first half, George Mason was ice cold from the floor, failing to score in five minutes. Senior guard Abby Meyers, though, was red hot. Meyers knocked down a step-back three, her third of an eventual five in the game, to extend Maryland’s lead to 20.
Maryland women’s basketball never looked back, taking its season-opener, 88-51.
Four Terps found themselves with double digits in tonight’s offensive clinic: Star senior shooting guard Diamond Miller, Meyers, sophomore Shyanne Sellers, and freshman Bri McDaniel.
Meyers led the way, but there was immense concern as Miller exited the contest early in the second quarter. She led all scorers after the first quarter, and with the Terps set to host No. 1 South Carolina on Friday, they’ll need her 100%.
Thankfully for the Terps, head coach Brenda Frese said postgame that Miller’s injury is “nothing too serious” and that holding her out in the second half was precautionary.
She added that Miller will undergo further evaluation this week, though.
Three-pointers and turnovers were the name of the game Monday night, with the Terps finishing 12-22 from deep and scoring 29 points off 18 forced turnovers, while George Mason mustered a lackluster 5-of-22 clip from three and only scored five points off takeaways.
“We were really locked in. I thought our communication was really good. We handled the scouting report well and they were able to execute it,” Frese said.
The Terps are now 7-0 all-time against the Patriots, with Frese at the helm for the last five.
Concerns coming into the season revolved around Maryland’s small lineup, with Monday’s starters consisting of five natural guards, all six-foot-three or less.
That lack of size showed in the rebounding department early, with the Patriots holding an advantage after the first quarter. But, a collective effort on the defensive end forced four early turnovers, which led to seven points.
The home side had their looks but struggled immensely from the field, including going 1-of-10 from deep in the opening half.
For the Terps early on, Miller was dominant before leaving the game.
She outscored the Patriots by herself in the opening 10 minutes, notching 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting as Maryland held a 20-9 advantage.
Miller’s play rubbed off on Meyers, who made her presence felt in her first regular season game as a Terp.
The self-proclaimed “knockdown shooter” showed her prowess from beyond the arc, finishing with a team-high 19 points and knocking down all five of her threes.
“Tonight, it fell for me, but credit to my teammates. They were open shots because my teammates got me open,” Meyers said.
The Terps went into the break up 39-17, but with the Patriots continuing to find space to operate with, Maryland needed to continue to be sharp to put the game out of reach.
After going 1-of-12 from deep in the first half, the Patriots made a couple of early shots off of wide-open opportunities early in the third quarter, bringing its deficit to under 20.
But Maryland’s skill proved too much for George Mason, with the Terps continuing to force turnovers and hit their shots.
Maryland forced the Patriots into a total of 16 turnovers, turning them into 27 points
The first quarter was Miller’s to show off, the second Meyers’, and the third quarter belonged to senior Lavender Briggs.
The Florida transfer went 4-of-5 from the floor, good enough for nine points to help give the Terps a 63-34 lead headed into the final quarter.
With the 29-point advantage, Frese was able to unload her bench for the last 10 minutes, as 11 players seeing the court as Maryland got the season started off on the right foot.
All eyes now will look toward Friday night, when Aliyah Boston and reigning national champion South Carolina comes to town for a top-20 matchup.
Three things to know
1. The highlight transfers filled in with Miller out. Abby Meyers and Lavender Briggs made sure that the result was never in doubt, taking over after Miller’s second-quarter injury. The duo finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and three steals.
2. The Terps were able to pull away in the second quarter. With Maryland up 11 headed into the second quarter, George Mason held its own and competed side-by-side with the Terps but just couldn’t drain its shots. Maryland, though, was electric from the field, shooting 50% from three in the first half. That helped the Terps have a 22-point lead heading into the second half.
3. A similar start won’t fly against South Carolina. The Gamecocks come to College Park on Friday evening, and a team that was top-three in team defense and rebounds in the nation last year will make it difficult for the smaller-sized Terps to make plays in open space. Maryland thrived off turnovers, but the Patriots were just about even with the Terps in rebounds.