Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Today was no ordinary day for the Maryland Terrapins as they were welcomed to their loudest and most unusual crowd of the year.
Three-thousand local elementary school students were in attendance Friday morning to cheer the Terps on to a 106-42 victory in their annual Field Trip Day.
The local students cheered, danced, sang and showed love to their beloved Terps even when the game was already out of hand.
“It’s kind of one of my favorite games in the tradition we started,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “It’s an opportunity [and] the responsibility of being role models and giving back to all these young kids that may dream to grow up and play at Maryland or play somewhere else in terms of basketball.”
Once the game tipped off, the Terps didn’t start the way they hoped.
Forty-five seconds into the first quarter, senior center Brionna Jones frustrated Frese by coughing up the ball and less than 20 seconds later, allowing a guard to drive right into the lane for an uncontested layup.
Frese pulled Jones out with just under nine minutes left in the quarter and Maryland went cold. The Terps missed five of their next seven shots and trailed, 4-6.
“It took us a little bit to wake up,” Frese said. “It was early. I thought we had a very sluggish start. You can see that in our shot selection—our shot wasn’t falling—we weren’t as crisp as we normally are.”
Frese went to back to her trusted senior at the 4:52 mark in the first quarter.
After Jones checked in the game, she immediately scored back-to-back baskets for her first four points of the game, which changed the momentum of the game. The Terps did not allow a single point in the paint and went on a 14-7 run that would’ve been much larger if not for two uncontested 3-pointers.
Frese says that Jones was the catalyst for the Terps pulling away in the second quarter.
“I thought we did a much better job settling in [the] second quarter, getting the ball inside to [Brionna] Frese said.
Jones kept the momentum up with a dominating second quarter, scoring 8 of the team’s 19 points. She ended her night with 18 points and 10 rebounds, her first double-double of the season and the 34th of her career.
Transfer junior guard Ieshia Small also stepped up when her team needed her.
Small shook off a poor two-point performance against Maryland Eastern Shore to contribute 14 points, 7 rebounds, five assists, and four steals tonight.
“I think I had to learn that you can’t keep harping on the past,” Small said. “Going in with my mindset—coach talks to me about this all time—you just have to let it go and move on to the next play. It started yesterday in practice when we were going I knew that she forgot about it and i just had to tell myself that I had to forget about it—so then I kept going and then just came out and played today.”
Defense was a point of emphasis coming into tonight’s matchup. Maryland turned up the pressure from the second quarter onward. From the 5:47 mark in the second quarter, the Terps did not allow single point until the 42-second mark. Maryland only allowed two points in the quarter’s last six minutes.
Frese felt that the team took a step forward in that department.
“[We] really started to pick up our defensive intensity I thought after halftime,” Frese said. “The second half was a much better indicator in terms of how we want to play for 40 minutes.”
The Terps held the Mountaineers to just seven points in the second quarter and nine points in the third, while. Maryland limited Mount St. Mary’s to 27.4 percent shooting on the night, and forced 19 turnovers (21 steals).
The Terps are headed to New York where they will play Niagara on Sunday at noon.
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