For the second (and last) time this season, Maryland women’s basketball dominated en route to an exhibition victory. On Friday, the Terrapins easily disposed of Division-II Clarion, winning 126-41 with ease.
Freshman forward Shakira Austin led all scorers, exploding for 29 points, shooting 12-of-13 from the floor and grabbing 10 rebounds. Rookie guard Taylor Mikesell also shone bright for the second game in a row, finishing second on the team with 24 points. Five other Terps joined them in double figures.
The Terps opened the game on a 15-0 run and never looked back, staying ahead for the entirety of the game and leaving no doubt at any point. They led by at least 30 points for the final 8:50 of the first half, heading into the break with a commanding 60-15 lead.
Maryland’s high level of play continued coming out of halftime, outscoring Clarion 15-2 to start the third before the first break in action and continuing to dominate the pace of play the rest of the way. Clarion nearly doubled its point total from the first half to the second, scoring 27 after the break, but Maryland never scored fewer than 27 in a single quarter. The Terps shot 67.1 percent from the field as a team and went 10-of-17 from three.
The newcomers are playing a ton.
Austin came off the bench, but played the second-most minutes on the team with 23. Using her 6’5 frame, she was a force to be reckoned with inside against a much smaller Clarion squad. Whether she enters the regular season in the starting five or as the first player off the bench, she’ll be tough to stop.
Mikesell drew another start, and she once again capitalized on the abundance of minutes. She tallied 24 points, including shooting 4-of-6 from deep, while adding 10 assists and three rebounds.
Sara Vujacic also had another solid game off the bench, and her shooting has been lights out thus far. She went 3-of-6 from three and finished in double-figures once again with 11 points.
The veterans haven’t gone anywhere, though.
While the focus of the offseason has been on the top-10 recruiting class that head coach Brenda Frese brought in, Maryland will once again be led by its veterans.
Last year’s leading scorer, Kaila Charles, was third on the team with 14 points, and it seems as though she’s on her way to growing on her impressive sophomore campaign. Stephanie Jones followed up her 18-point outing a week ago to finish with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Brianna Fraser, the lone senior on this team, posted a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. And as she continues her comeback, Blair Watson was efficient, scoring 10 points on just 4-of-5 shooting from the field.
Maryland’s preseason is now complete. The Terps will open the regular season next Friday, Nov. 9, against Coppin State.