Maryland women’s basketball has played two games. Maryland women’s basketball has two victories.
After an evisceration of Coppin State on Friday night, the Terrapins faced a much tougher test in Dayton, which has made eight of the past nine NCAA Tournaments, on Sunday afternoon. Despite a ton of sloppy play that resulted in 24 turnovers, the Terps dominated the Flyers for nearly the entire game, and the 82-71 final score made the game seem much closer than it was.
On Wednesday, Maryland will go on the road for the first time this season, albeit not that far. The Terps will face off against nearby George Washington, which is coming off a 64-49 victory over Princeton on Sunday.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.
George Washington Colonials (1-1)
2017-18 record: 19-14 (10-6 Atlantic-10)
Head coach Jennifer Rizzotti is in her third season in charge of the Colonials, having previously coached at Hartford for 17 seasons. For her time there and with the USA Women’s Basketball teams, Rizzotti was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. Rizzotti also played college basketball at the University of Connecticut, serving as the starting point guard for the 1995 national championship team that went 35-0.
Players to know
Mei-Lyn Bautista, senior, guard, 5’6, No. 21. A year after finishing fourth on the team with 8.5 points per game, Bautista has stepped into a much larger role in her final campaign. She’s played 74 of the team’s 80 minutes so far this season, and is leading the Colonials with 25 points and seven assists thus far.
Neila Luma, sophomore, forward, 6’0, No. 30. Luma got a lot of run as a freshman, starting 31 of 33 games while averaging 7.1 points and 6.6 rebounds, the latter of which led the team. So far in 2018-19, she is second on the team in scoring with 16 points, although if she shot better from the free-throw line (just 6-of-14 currently), that total would increase.
Defense. At least on the defensive side, George Washington’s start to the season has been fantastic. The Colonials have given up just 49.5 points per game against James Madison and Princeton, a figure that ranks third in the Atlantic 10. They’ve allowed opponents to shoot a lowly 33.1 percent from the field and 21.1 percent from deep, the latter of which ranks fourth in the conference.
Offense. Thanks to a season-opening scoring output of just 37 against the Dukes, George Washington has averaged just 50.5 points per game to start this season. That places the Colonials at No. 318 in the nation out of 348 qualified teams. The struggle to score has been due to a failure to shoot efficiently — George Washington has shot from the field at a 34 percent clip while hitting 24.1 percent from long range and 54.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland clean things up offensively? In the season opener against Coppin State, the biggest problem the Terrapins faced was shooting the ball well. Despite scoring 93 points against the Eagles, the Terps shot just .386 from the floor and .286 from beyond the arc. And against Dayton, Maryland gave the ball away far too often, committing 24 turnovers while allowing the Flyers to stay relatively close. If the Terrapins want a less stressful outing on Wednesday, they need to tidy up their offense.
2. Can George Washington stop Maryland’s bigs? Inside the post, the Terrapins are led by Brianna Fraser and Shakira Austin, who are 6’4 and 6’5, respectively. Freshman center Kayla Mokwuah, who is 6’4, is the only player on the Colonials taller than 6’1, but she has averaged 13.5 minutes per game in a relatively small role off the bench. Against Maryland, though, she may be called upon in a big spot to get stops inside.
3. Can the Colonials score enough to stay close? Simply put, George Washington has been offensively challenged so far this season. Some of that is due to failing to make shots, but the Colonials have also played at a slow pace. They’ve taken just 103 shots, which ranks T-11th in the conference out of 14 teams — the Colonials take their time before finally deciding to shoot. Against a team that can run like Maryland, George Washington may have to speed up its offense to stay close.