The Maryland women’s basketball team seems to have forgotten that the exhibitions are over. Just as they did in the two preseason outings, the Terps dominated from the get-go and rolled to a 93-36 victory over Coppin State in the 2018-19 regular season opener.
Four Terrapins finished in double figures, led by Taylor Mikesell and her 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-10 from deep. Stephanie Jones was next in line with 17 points and 12 rebounds, both of which were second on the team. Kaila Charles added 11 points of her own. But freshman Shakira Austin had the craziest stat line of the night, putting forth a 12-point, 21-rebound, seven-block effort.
As expected, the the Terps led in every category. They outrebounded Coppin State 61-34, including a staggering 29 offensive boards. Maryland also turned the Eagles over 19 times while committing just eight turnovers itself.
Mikesell scored the first points of the season for Maryland, knocking down a three just 21 seconds into the game to give Maryland a 3-0 lead. Tied at four a minute later, Kaila Charles hit a stepback jumper to give the Terps a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. That made basket sparked a quick 8-0 run to go up 10, and after Coppin State cut the score to 16-10 with 5:40 to go in the first, Maryland finished on a 15-3 run to close out the quarter.
The Eagles managed to stop the halftime score from being too overwhelming, if only because of the Terps’ inability to find the bottom of the basket. They shot just 28.6 percent from the field in the second quarter, including a ghastly 1-of-11 from deep. But Maryland’s defense did its job, using a full-court trap to throw off Coppin State’s rhythm on the inbound and stifling scorers in the half court. As a result, the Eagles only scored seven points in 10 minutes and the Terps went into the break holding a 48-20 lead.
Once the third quarter began, the only question was by how much Maryland would win. The Terps’ offense improved, and as a result, the lead grew by nearly half. In holding the Eagles to just 12 points in the quarter, Maryland was able to take a 40-point lead into the final frame.
From there, the lead continued to grow until the final figures on the scoreboard were incredibly lopsided. Somehow, the Eagles only managed to score four points in the final 10 minutes, allowing Maryland to really blow the doors off until the final buzzer.
Maryland won’t have long to rest, as the Terps will host the Dayton Flyers, an NCAA Tournament team a year ago, on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET and the game can be seen on BTN Plus.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s shooting was off. The Terps had a huge drop-off in offensive production from their exhibition win over Clarion. The team’s field goal percentage dropped from .671 to a mediocre .384 percentage, while the three-point percentage fell down to .286 Some of that could be attributed to the slightly better competition, but a good portion of the shooting woes were due to missed layups and wide-open looks from long range. The Terrapins will face a tougher opponent on Sunday, so they’ll need to step things up.
2. The defense was stout. It helped that Coppin State was rushing due to being down by such a wide margin, but led by an effective full-court trap, the Terps were suffocating on the defensive end. They held the Eagles to just 36 points, including a lowly seven points in the second quarter. Coppin State managed to make just 25.0 percent of its shots and turned the ball over 19 times.
3. The freshmen excelled. This top-10 recruiting class got a ton of hype over the offseason, but the season opener was a showcase of how talented the rookies are. Mikesell and Austin were the two leading scorers, combining for 29 points, 32.2 percent of the team’s total offensive output. The former tied the team lead with four assists, while the latter added 21 rebounds and seven blocks.