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Maryland women’s basketball wears down Niagara for 92-65 win

The Terps started slow again, but were eventually too much for the Purple Eagles.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at Maryland Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Despite another slow start, Maryland women’s basketball had little trouble against Niagara on Thursday, knocking off the Purple Eagles 92-65.

The Terps had five players in double figures, with Stephanie Jones leading the way with a career-high 21 points and nine rebounds. Ieshia Small also had a career day, finishing with 18 points and six assists. Kaila Charles added 17 points in just 19 minutes.

Maryland (2-1) had its best offensive performance of the early season, shooting a season-high 57 percent from the field. The Terps did lots of damage in the paint, outscoring Niagara (0-3) 46-24 in points in the paint.

They were not as strong on the glass. Even though Maryland outrebounded the Purple Eagles 42-30, Niagara had 13 offensive rebounds. The Purple Eagles failed to capitalize on them, scoring just one second chance point.

Maryland was lethargic at the start again Thursday, and Niagara led as late as 5:03 left in the first quarter. The Terps struggled on defense during that stretch, and couldn’t get into a flow offensively. Maryland shut the Purple Eagles down for the next three minutes, going on an 8-0 run to take a 21-14 lead. Niagara still wouldn’t go away, and the Terps lead 25-17 at the end of the first quarter.

Charles took over in the second quarter, scoring eight points to give Maryland a 35-24 lead before being called for her third foul with 4:15 left in the quarter. At halftime, her foul total was changed to two, but that was still enough for her to sit for the remainder of the half.

The Terps extended their lead to 40-26 on a Brianna Fraser jumper, but Niagara answered back with an 8-0 run to cut the lead to six. Maryland couldn’t get enough stops or rebounds to grow the lead to a comfortable margin.

The Terps finally put some cushion in between themselves and Niagara in the third, shooting 83 percent to take a 65-48 lead. After Rampado hit a three to cut the lead to 55-46, the Terps went on a 10-2 run and held the Purple Eagles without a field goal for the final 5:12 of the quarter.

Maryland extended the lead during the fourth quarter, leading by as much as 28 with 2:47 to go.

Three things to know

  1. It was another slow start. For whatever reason, this team does not execute well out of the gate. That crushed them on Monday, and will crush them again on Sunday if nothing changes.
  2. Kaila Charles needs to stay out of foul trouble. The only thing holding the sophomore guard back from being a star is fouls. She fouled out Thursday after picking up two in the first half against South Carolina. If Maryland wants to take the next step this year, it needs Charles on the court more.
  3. It was an unusually loud crowd. Field Trip Day made for a great atmosphere for an otherwise run-of-the-mill game. The day was filled with dabs, screaming and dancing, which is nothing more than I’d expect from a bunch of energetic elementary and middle schoolers.