The 2016-2017 season ended very differently for Maryland than it did for the South Carolina gamecocks. While the Terps suffered a very disappointing loss in the sweet sixteen to #10 seed Oregon, whom they were favored heavily against, South Carolina, who was not one of the favorites in the tournament, came out of nowhere and capitalized on the upset of perennial powerhouse Connecticut and took the national championship in extraordinary fashion. Now ranked #15 and #4 respectively, Maryland and South Carolina are set for an early season test at the Xfinity Center this Monday.
The Terrapins are coming off a win against Albany, which had it’s high points and low points. The Terps were rather sloppy with the ball, giving up 21 turnovers to the Great Danes, but they did have great defense, holding the Great Danes to just 55 points and out-rebounding them by 18.
“We want to take better care of the basketball. Obviously 21 turnovers is too much for the way we are going to play basketball. But I liked our fight on the court.” Coach Frees said about the game on friday.
One of the bright spots on the Maryland side was the play of Stephanie Jones. She ended with a double double totaling 18 rebounds, a game high on both sides, and 11 points. The presence in the paint led to opportunities for guards like Freshman standout Channise Lewis and Senior Captain Kristen Confroy, who got Maryland 8 threes in the second half.
“It helps us to get a game under our belt. That’ll be an easy game for our players to get up to and I know they are looking forward to it. But for us, it’s the same about each game and the way we are approaching practice and preparation for it.” Frese said.
The gamecocks themselves had a dominant performance as well. They held Alabama state to 33 points and were 1 point away from cracking triple digits at 99. The Terps are going to have a change in competition on the defensive end as the Gamecocks held the Hornets to 20% shooting in the second half. The Terrapins are not going to be able to go on a huge run like they did against the Great danes, scoring 30 and holding them to 4 in the second quarter. The Gamecocks are still without one of their stars, senior guard Bianca Cuevas-Moore, who is still recovering from a knee injury she suffered in practice earlier this season. However, the Gamecocks have made up for it with their depth, as all of the players on the gamecocks roster scored in their season opener.
The one key for the Terps, if they do want to give the Gamecocks trouble, is rebounding. While Maryland was dominant racking up 60 in their opener, the Gamecocks allowed 31 rebounds to a formidable opponent in the Hornets. The play of Stephanie Jones and forward Brianna Fraser, who racked over a quarter of the terps rebounds in their game friday night, is going to be a big factor in the game this monday.
“Sometimes we make moments bigger than we should, but i did think we settled down.” Frese said. The Terps are going to have to not make this moment too big against the Gamecocks if they want to have a chance to pull off the upset.
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