Normally, when a team is up by more than 40 points in the third quarter, there isn’t much to watch.
But for Maryland women’s basketball Wednesday night, Brinae Alexander was making history, and putting on a show while doing so. That was epitomized when Bri McDaniel dished a between-the-legs pass to Alexander, who then knocked down for her ninth basket of the game.
She ended up with a career-high seven 3-pointers in a 29-point performance, and added seven boards and five steals as the Terps dusted Niagara, 114-44, for their third straight win.
Alexander said she wasn’t aware of the significance of her performance, which included a program record of 11 straight made shots to begin a game: “I didn’t realize I was perfect from the floor until halftime, so I was like, oh yeah, I haven’t missed a shot yet.”
Maryland dominated in just about every facet of the game, shooting 67.2% from the field, 58.8% from three and 77.8% from the free-throw line. It was the first time Maryland scored more than 110 points in a game since the 2020-21 season.
Head coach Brenda Frese thought the 3-point shooting really opened up the offense, saying, “It makes us hard to guard when you have an inside-outside presence.”
Niagara struggled against Maryland’s zone defense early and was generally uncomfortable handling the basketball, evidenced by 27 turnovers. Maryland then thrived in transition, scoring 34 fast-break points.
Along with Alexander, four other Terps scored in double figures. McDaniel had 18 points, Riley Nelson scored a career-high 15, Faith Masonius added 14 and Allie Kubek put up 12. While guard Shyanne Sellers only had nine points, she posted a career-high 11 assists.
The Terps started like most would have expected, scoring the first nine points of the game. Seven of those were in transition, as Maryland looked to push the tempo.
While the Purple Eagles eventually scored, the Terps did not stop. Maryland ended the period on a 16-0 run, which involved McDaniel and Alexander making 5-of-6 combined shots.
Maryland’s ball movement and speed continued to fluster the Purple Eagles in the second quarter, outscoring them by 18 in the frame.
Maryland took a 40-point lead into the halftime break and had three players already in double-digits, including Alexander, who finished the first half a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with 17 points.
Maryland’s offense never slowed down. The Terps made 11-of-14 shots in the third period, extending the lead to 50 points, and exploded for 28 points in the fourth quarter.
The Terps finished the contest on a 21-3 run, winning the game by 70 points in the team’s return to XFINITY Center.
Three things to know
1. McDaniel looked comfortable in the starting lineup. McDaniel replaced an injured Lavender Briggs in the starting lineup, and put up 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals in her first career start.
“Just playing hard and playing like its my last [game],” McDaniel said. “And just doing everything that my teammates need.”
2. Faith Masonius had her best game of the season. Masonius was benched in favor of Allie Kubek after just four games, but the graduate forward found her rhythm Wednesday, scoring a a season-high 14 points to go along with five boards.
3. Maryland looks to build confidence ahead of Big Ten play. After playing three top-25 teams in their first six games, the Terps’ don’t play a single ranked opponent over the next four games. They are riding a three-game winning streak and have an opportunity to extend it.