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Maryland women’s basketball beats Dayton, 82-71

The Terps pulled ahead early and kept the Flyers at a distance the rest of the way.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Maryland at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another convincing victory for Maryland women’s basketball. On Sunday, the No. 9 Terps easily disposed of Dayton, leading for nearly the entire game on the way to a 82-71 victory.

Kaila Charles, last year’s leading scorer, led the game with 22 points, doing so on an efficient 8-of-15 from the field. Four other Terps joined her in double figures. Taylor Mikesell had 15 points and five assists, Shakira Austin had 14 points and six rebounds, and Blair Watson and Stephanie Jones added 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Maryland shot much better than it did on Friday, as the Terrapins hit their field goals at a 55.9 percent clip while shooting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Maryland led the rebounding battle once again, 39-30, although its advantage wasn’t as drastic as in the season opener.

For the first time this season, the Terrapins trailed. Dayton took a 6-0 lead on a pair of early three-pointers, and the Flyers led 8-3 with over six minutes remaining in the first quarter. But the Terps went on a massive run, completely decimating Dayton on both ends of the court. Stephanie Jones’ layup jump-started a 25-3 run that gave Maryland the only lead it needed.

Blair Watson had one of the best 32-second stretches you will ever see. The junior hit a three at the 5:22 mark to give the Terrapins a 10-8 lead, stole the ball after the inbound pass, and hit another three. On the ensuing possession, Watson had another steal and hit a midrange jumper at the 4:50 mark to put Maryland ahead by seven points.

The Terrapins entered the second quarter up by 17 points, and the lead grew instantly. Thanks to Charles and Austin, Maryland found itself up by 23 within two minutes and it seemed as though the game could be over in a flash. Dayton had other plans, and thanks to some terrific shooting from long range, this one wasn’t quite over. Down 23 with 4:37 to go in the half, the Flyers went on a 9-0 run in less than two minutes. After some back-and-forth in the final minutes, Maryland had a 43-27 advantage at halftime.

The third quarter went much the way of the second, as Maryland just could not put the Flyers away. Dayton started the second half on an 11-4 run, cutting the deficit to single-digits. Needing a spark to get some pad on the lead, the Terrapins turned to Mikesell and Watson to take over. The duo combined for 14 points just over three minutes for a 16-6 Maryland run, putting the Terps up 20 late in the quarter.

Dayton pushed late, but it couldn’t get enough stops to go on a run. Nearly each basket the Flyers scored was quickly matched by Maryland for the final 10 minutes of action. A late push cut the Terrapins’ lead to 11, and that’s how the game would end.

Maryland will be back in action Wednesday, as the Terps will visit George Washington. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN+.

Three things to know

1. The Terps were sloppy early on. Despite entering halftime with a 16-point lead and having been up 23 at points, Maryland’s offensive play left a lot to be desired. In the first half alone, the Terrapins turned the ball over 13 times, leading to 13 points for the Flyers. Maryland was more efficient out of the break, but still committed nine turnovers for a total of 22.

2. Maryland shot a lot better. One change from Friday’s win over Coppin State was the increased quality of shot selection against the Flyers. After firing up 28 three-pointers two days ago, the Terps only took eight shots from long range, hitting half of them. That shot selection translated to the inside as well, as Maryland’s field goal percentage jumped to .559.

3. Kaila Charles is still the star. The junior averaged over 17 points per game last season to lead the Terps, and against Dayton, her scoring abilities were on full display. She led the team with 22 points while making over half of her shots from the field and all her free throws. Given the weapons around her this season, she won’t have to do as much, but she can still carry the offense when called upon.