Maryland women’s basketball is off to a great start at the World University Games. Representing Team USA, the Terps dominated their first three games, winning by 52.3 points per game to win Pool C. They’re on to the elimination rounds.
Monday: USA 121, Uganda 34
Maryland demolished Uganda from the opening tip. The Terps jumped out to a 35-7 lead after the first quarter and then shot 100 percent on two-pointers in the second quarter to take a 68-14 lead at halftime.
Sophomore guard Blair Watson had a team-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and five steals, and was one of eight players in double figures. Tori Jankoska added 16 points and eight assists, and Stephanie Jones put together a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Maryland dominated almost every statistical category. It outshot Uganda 57 percent to 21 percent, outrebounded them 61-28, and had as many assists as Uganda had points. The game could have been even more lopsided, as the Terps committed 27 turnovers.
Tuesday: USA 102, Poland 53
Although it wasn’t as big a blowout, Maryland still cruised to a victory. Jankoska and Watson both had 19 points, and Watson added 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Kaila Charles and Ieshia Small also finished in double figures, adding 18 and 13 respectively.
The team was able to be even more balanced than it was against Uganda, when Sarah Myers led the team with 25 minutes. No one played more than 22 against Poland.
The Terps shot just 45 percent in the first half, but their lockdown defense held Poland to a meager 16 percent. As Poland continued to tire, the U.S. heated up, shooting 65 percent in the fourth quarter, with Jankoska adding multiple three-pointers.
Wednesday: USA 73, Czech Republic 52
Following a slow start, Maryland used a strong third quarter to pull away from the Czech Republic.
Small led all scorers with 17 points, and Charles had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Jankoska also had another strong all-around game, finishing with 11 points, five assists and six steals.
In the first quarter, the Terps looked like a team playing its third game in as many days. They shot just 3-for-17 in the first period, and trailed 17-15. Maryland couldn’t get open looks to fall at the beginning of the quarter, and started to settle towards the end of the period. They went 8-for-9 from the foul line to keep the deficit manageable.
After taking a 39-32 lead into halftime, the Terps took over in the third quarter, outscoring the Czech Republic 20-3, and kept a sizable lead throughout the fourth quarter.
Maryland was easily the best team in Pool C.
Although Maryland is not a typical Team USA squad, it was still by far the best team in its pool. The Terps were usually able to get the shots they wanted, and forced their opponents into tough shots at the other end. The only time they struggled was when they went cold or beat themselves with sloppy play on offense.
Tori Jankoska has been a great acquisition.
Through three games, the Michigan State graduate has been the Terps’ most consistent player. She’s hit shots from all over the floor, and has made plays on the defensive end while coming off the bench. She’s also spent some time at point guard to give Channise Lewis some rest.
Lewis should get ready to play a lot of minutes.
Last season, Destiny Slocum led Maryland in minutes per game as a freshman because the Terps had no traditional point guard to back her up. The circumstances are similar this year, as Lewis is Maryland’s only true point guard.
Once again, both Small and Myers are capable of running the offense, but don’t look comfortable in that role. Small has been solid playing off the ball in this tournament, and could thrive in that role this season. Myers has looked capable at time running the offense in this tournament, but not enough to be a consistent point guard.
Jankoska has helped by playing point guard when she comes off the bench, but Brenda Frese won’t have her during the season. Lewis is not as talented as Slocum, but the Terps need her to do just as much this year.
Team USA will take on Australia in the quarterfinals, who Maryland beat in a scrimmage 78-72 on Aug. 22. Australia went 2-1 in pool play, defeating Lithuania and Argentina before losing its final game to Russia. The game tips off at 5:30 a.m. ET on Friday.