Maryland women’s basketball improved to 5-3 with a dominant 114-44 victory over Niagara on Wednesday. The Terps scored 57 points in each half.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Brinae Alexander had her best game as a Terp
Alexander offers dependable size as a forward and has been a steady presence from three-point range during her time in College Park. She took things to a different level on Wednesday, though, delivering one of the finest shooting performances in recent team history.
Her official stat line showcased a career-high 29 points on 11-for-13 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
She made her first 11 shots of the game — a program record.
Yet, it was her intuitive feel for the game and exceptional basketball IQ that truly stood out, consistently positioning her to thrive on the court. Albeit against a two-win Niagara squad, Alexander showcased a keen ability to read the Terps’ fast-break strategy, astutely choosing between hanging back at the three-point line or engaging near the basket.
Her proficiency in close quarters was evident through precise passes, often threading through defenders to connect with either Allie Kubek or Shyanne Sellers on the weak side of the court.
Additionally, she looked strong defensively, capitalizing on her strengths to yield five steals.
If Alexander, who typically isn’t tasked with shouldering the offensive burden, continues to perform efficiently, it could introduce another potent threat and potentially alleviate some pressure from Sellers.
“I was going in with high confidence knowing that I always shoot well at home,” Alexander said. “I didn’t realize I was perfect from the floor until halftime … I was just like in a zone.”
Maryland made shots at an incredible rate
The Terps boasted an impressive 67 percent clip from the field and made 10 of their 17 3-point attempts. They also accumulated 64 points in the paint, primarily capitalizing on fast-break opportunities.
Maryland’s high-tempo offense facilitated a season-high 30 assists, with Shyanne Sellers delivering a career-best 11.
“We knew that because they were jamming the rebounder and they were going to send two [players] and trap, that we were going to have streakers up the floor and get layups,” Alexander said.
Five Terps reached double figures, with freshman Riley Nelson contributing 15 points. She continues to show improvement with each game.
The team’s offensive momentum didn’t waver or diminish when bench players entered in the second half. Freshman Hawa Doumbouya showcased her presence with a couple of key blocks in the paint and secured consecutive baskets in the fourth quarter.
The defense facilitated the fast start
The numbers tell the story: eight steals and seven defensive rebounds in the first frame.
In the opening three minutes of the game, the Terps swiftly secured a 9-0 lead. Bri McDaniel, stepping into the starting lineup due to Lavender Briggs’ injury, set the tone by applying pressure on the perimeter, converting steals into assists. By the end of the game, she tallied an impressive five takeaways and four assists.
“I feel like I really pride myself on defense and me, bringing the energy that I bring, I want everybody to just like feel that with me,” McDaniel said.
Maryland restricted the Purple Eagles to just five made field goals in the opening quarter, benefiting from its tactics. Frese implemented a zone defense, effectively trapping Niagara’s guards at the top of the arc to restrict their driving opportunities. Although this approach left shooters open on the wing and in the corner, they struggled to convert, managing only a 1-for-5 performance from three.
Overall, the Terps showcased an impressive defensive prowess, demonstrating their ability to disrupt opponents despite not having considerable height or size advantages.