Ieshia Small drives to the rim during Maryland’s 91-58 win over Albany (Joel Valley/The Left Bench).

Maryland dominates in season opener, in lieu of prime time matchup with South Carolina

The Maryland Women’s basketball started the season off right, as they dominated the Albany Great Danes  91-58.

Going into the game, facing former assistant coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee, in their first matchup ever versus the Great Danes, the Terps debuted their smaller 10 man roster for the first time. A strategy that seemed to pay off for the terps as the ball movement was astounding throughout as the team totaled 22 assists.

The first-game jitters on both sides were evident in the early moments of the game as there was a combined 19 turnovers in the first quarter alone. Maryland couldn’t pull away from the Great Danes committing 10 turnovers of their own in the first quarter and shooting a dismal 6 for19 from the field. Albany’s Jessica Fequiere came out hot and took advantage of Maryland’s sloppy play scoring over half their team’s points in the first quarter and shooting 100 percent from three-point-land.  

However momentum took a huge swing in the second as the Terps got off to a fast start pushing the pace with full court press and converting on fast breaks and turned it into a 25-0 run to begin the quarter.

“The first quarter looked like a lot of nervousness and jitters with the sloppy play and turnovers,” Head Coach Brenda Frese said. “But we really settled in the second quarter and I thought we were able to feed off that run with a lot of momentum.”

Frese pumped the team up going into the second quarter and really stressed the defensive side of the ball. The domination continued inside the paint where the Terps were out-rebounding Albany by 21 in the first half thanks in part to sophomore forward Stephanie Jones and junior center Brianna Fraser who combined had 17 rebounds and 13 points for the Terps.

Maryland kept pulling away in the second half as the Terps’ offense continued at their fast tempo which seemed to cause a lot of turnover problems for Albany.

Albany also seemed to have no answer for the Terps attack, Maryland shot 42 percent from three in the second half helping to extend their already insurmountable lead. Maryland started to hit their stride and never looked back as they shot an impressive 34 percent from the field and forced 28 turnovers from the Great Danes.

“I think [My play], even the guards play crashing the boards hard, getting rebounds and giving us a second chance on offense was huge for us.” Sophomore Stephanie Jones said.

Jones ended with a double-double leading the team in rebounds with 18, and racked up 11 points.

Maryland’s defense was stout and gave Albany a lot of trouble especially in the paint. The Terps racked up eight blocks and didn’t commit a single shooting foul until the end of the third quarter.  

Freshman guard Channise Lewis came into the game with a lot of expectations on her shoulders. Although her point total might not be the most prettiest star, she finished second in assists for the Terps and did end up cracking double digits with 10 points.

“It didn’t feel like my first season game since I’ve been here since the summer and went on the Taiwan trip, so I was just carrying that confidence from the Taiwan trip over into the first game which led me to the comfort I was in.” Lewis said.

This performance by the Terps could not come at a better time, as this will serve as a huge confident boost going into their matchup against the defending National Champions South Carolina on Monday.

“We just need to be more consistent throughout the game” Jones said.

The Terps have made a statement to start the season, but still have things to improve if they want to compete with South Carolina next week.