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Three takeaways from No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball season opener

Here’s three things we noticed from the Terps’ convincing 119-56 win.

Sarah Sopher/ Testudo Times

No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball opened the 2019-20 season with a 119-56 win over Wagner.

With over 3,500 kids in attendance for Field Trip Day, Xfinity Center was rocking as the Terrapins had seven players hit double figures and the team crossed the 100-point threshold for the first time since December of 2017.

Here are some takeaways from the dominant opening performance:

1. The transition game made all the difference

Maryland’s defense is going to really shine this season — especially if the opener is any indication of the norm.

In the first half, the Terrapins were able to score 29 points off of 17 Wagner turnovers. The team continued its pressure in the second and yielded 48 points off of Wagner’s 31 total turnovers.

One of the noticeable differences for Maryland this season is the ability to immediately turn up court off of a rebound and quickly get to the other end. Freshman point guard Ashley Owusu was one of the key parts of the transition offense, tallying 18 points, nine assists and three rebounds in her Terp debut.

“She was pretty good,” Frese said. “She came out aggressive. I just love how confident she played, it wasn’t too big of a moment for her. I thought she commanded the position extremely well.”

Owusu and fellow freshman Faith Masonius led the Terps with 31 minutes each, showing the benefit of having such well-prepared young players on the team.

“[Owusu] is really fun to play with,” sophomore Taylor Mikesell said. “She’s super unselfish and she plays before it happens. She’s got a really bright future.”

2. Sara Vujacic was a spark off the bench

The senior guard came in early and helped set the tone for the Terps, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds and adding two assists in the first half alone.

In 26 minutes on the floor, Vujacic finished with a Maryland career-high of 15 points, six rebounds and also tied her high as a Terp with three assists. Last season, she averaged just three points, 1.2 rebounds and less than one assist in limited time off of the bench.

“I just feel a little more comfortable because I’m used to everything here,” Vujacic said. “Coaches, players, Ashley is a good point guard, Taylor. Everyone can pass the ball, so I just trust my teammates and I’m patient too.”

Stable contributions from different players off the bench will be a theme for the Terrapins this season, and Vujacic was the first example of it on Tuesday.

3. Even contributions across the board

After a 2018-19 season that saw three Terps average 10-plus points per game, but drop off with the rest of the roster, Frese and her staff have an unbelievable level of balance across this year’s team.

Seven Maryland players ended the season opener in double figures, with freshman guard Diamond Miller as the lone player to see the floor and score under 10 points, finishing with seven. Sophomore forward Shakira Austin recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Owusu and Charles added 18 points each themselves.

The increased energy level can be seen in every player, as there seems to be a newfound excitement on top of the fact that players are well rested.