No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball kicked off its season on the right note Monday with a commanding 98-75 win over Harvard.
The Terps started the game fast, getting out to a 20-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Shyanne Sellers led the way with 25 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Brinae Alexander made her first three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points on 5-8 shooting from deep.
Now, the Terps will travel to Columbia for a huge test: No. 6 South Carolina.
The game will start at 1 p.m. Sunday and air on ABC.
No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
2022 record: (36-1, 16-0 Southeastern Conference)
Head coach Dawn Staley has been at the helm of one of the most successful teams in college sports over the last decade. She’s won two national championships, but unlike the last few seasons, the Gamecocks weren’t ranked No. 1 heading into this season.
After beating Maryland, South Carolina lost in the Final Four to Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes by just four points. Now, with a new-look starting lineup, Staley will try to get back to the top of the college basketball mountain for the second time in three seasons.
Players to know
Kamilla Cardoso, senior center, 6-foot-7, No. 10 — Cardoso is set to have her best collegiate season this year. The 6-foot-7 is dominant inside, averaging 9.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last season. In the first game this season, she balled out with a team-high 20 points and 15 rebounds against Notre Dame. Without Aliyah Boston in the fold this season, Cardoso will gain much more of the attention from opposing teams.
Te-Hina Paopao, senior guard, 5-foot-9, No. 0 — The former McDonald’s All American was a two-time Pac 12 first team selection in her three years at Oregon. She is a dynamic scorer who can help fill the shoes of former guard Zia Cooke.
MiLaysia Fulwiley, freshman guard, 5-foot-10, No. 12 — Fulwiley came to South Carolina as the No. 13 ranked player in the country, and she made some first impression. In her collegiate debut against Notre Dame, she put up 17 points, six assists and six steals off the bench.
A glaring height advantage. The Gamecocks are a real problem for any team to play defense against because of their interior size. Not only is Cardoso 6-foot-7, but fellow post player, Chloe Kitts, is 6-foot-2. Off the bench, Staley can look to 6-foot-3 forwards Ashlyn Watkins and Sania Feagin.
They lost a lot of pieces. It’s not always about having talent in college basketball, it’s also about team chemistry. Last season’s top two scorers, Zia Cooke and Aliyah Boston, were both taken in this past years WNBA draft.
Three things to watch
1. Can the Terps contain Cardoso? Maryland’s size at the forward positions was looked at as a potential issue coming into the season. Faith Masonius could be the one guarding Cardoso on Sunday, and Cardoso would have a six-inch height advantage. Last season, she shot a combined 10-of-15 in two games against the Terps.
2. Who will make an impact off the bench? In game one, forward Emma Chardon had 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting in just 14 minutes, and Bri McDaniel had nine points and four rebounds off the bench as well. We’ll see if either of them can step up.
3. Will Maryland finally beat the Gamecocks? For head coach Brenda Frese, South Carolina has been a thorn in her side over the past few seasons. Along with losing in the NCAA Tournament to the Gamecocks last season, Maryland has lost to South Carolina in each of the last four matchups.