Maryland women’s basketball cruised in its first scrimmage of the 2016-17 season, pillaging Bluefield State 146-17 in College Park.
Blair Watson posted a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds; the freshman shot 12-of-19 from the floor in 20 minutes of action. Senior Shatori Walker-Kimbrough tossed up 18 points (in just 13 minutes), as did junior Iesha Small. All three Terps outscored the Big Blues by themselves.
Maryland ran its press defense more often than not, and it was far too much to handle for Bluefield State, a member of the Division II Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Terps forced 51 turnovers, surpassing their combined total from the two preseason scrimmages last year.
After Brionna Jones opened the scoring with a layup on the Terps’ first possession, Bluefield State’s Maggie Tien drained a three from the corner to give the Big Blues a 3-2 lead. Maryland then went on a 25-0 run, and it only got more lopsided from there.
The Terps led 40-9 after the opening quarter, 74-17 at the half and 107-17 through three frames. Yes, they actually held Bluefield State scoreless for the entire second half, finishing the evening with 78 unanswered points.
Maryland out-rebounded the Big Blues 55-13 and turned the ball over just 13 times while forcing 51.
Three things to know
1. The freshmen got a chance to ease in. This was the first game action for seven Terps, including the six freshmen that comprised the nation’s top recruiting class. Watson had the most noteworthy performance of the group, but Jenna Staiti’s 17 points in 12 minutes is worth mentioning.
2. The defense was air-tight. Maryland was going to come up with plenty of steals and blocks no matter how the game went, but Terps were jumping passing lanes all night, and it led to an onslaught of layups. It looks like the aggressive zone will be a real weapon once the opponents get tougher.
3. The real thing is ever closer. Games start counting on Nov. 13 against UMass Lowell, and Maryland’s first challenge should be Nov. 25 against Arizona State. Wednesday’s contest was more of a walk-through than anything, but the Terps definitely showed a glimpse of their capabilies.