After starting the season with Two brutal losses to Top 5 teams, it seems like the Terrapins (8-2) are finally starting to find their groove as they heads back to the Xfinity Center to extend their win streak to seven against George Washington (3-6).
“It’s nice to be able to get back home and play in the comforts of Xfinity,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said after her team’s 40 point win over Mount St. Mary’s Wednesday night. This was their first game back home in over two week.
The Terps had one of their best shooting performances this season shooting 50.7 percent on the day. This included 42.1 percent from three in large part guards Kristen Confroy and Blair Watson who made seven of Maryland’s eight three pointers.
“At the end of the day it’s the teammates are giving me the ball, and if they have confidence in me, I’ll have confidence in myself,” Watson said.
Watson has led the team this season with three pointers made with 29, and has forced opposing defenses to step out on her which opens up the paint to forwards like Brianna Fraser and Stephanie Jones.
However, Maryland played their first game without Fraser since she is nursing ankle injury. Fraser is day to day and might have to miss the game tomorrow night as well.
“I think because we are such a versatile team, even without Bri we are all able to contribute in a way that we can make up for her absence,” forward Stephanie Jones said.
Jones stepped up in the paint in Fraser’s abscess last night, as she grabbed a team high 9 boards which put her one away from a double double.
One of Maryland’s miscues earlier in the season was their slow start as the were outscored in almost every fourth quarter through the first five games of the season.
But Maryland has made major improvements to this forthcoming as in the past two games they have outscored their opponents 63-12 in the first quarter, putting the game out of reach early.
“Our stars have been really good here lately and we love that mentality setting the tone where we are dictating the tempo and sustaining for 40 minutes,” Frese said.
Maryland employs a full court press to bring the pressure early which has forced 46 turnovers in the past two games.
Meanwhile, George Washington is coming off their third straight loss, this time to Mercer in a 15 point blowout. If the Colonials want any chance to get out of their slump they will have to look to their senior duo of forward Kellin Prange and guard Brianna Cummings.
The two lead their team in Rebounding and scoring with Prange averaging 14 points and six rebounds, and Cummings averaging 13 points with six rebounds and two steals per game.
But other than those two monsters, the Colonials don’t really have a lot of depth with only two more players on the roster averaging over five points.
Maryland would seem to have the same depth problem with only four players residing on their bench. However, the Terps bench has been one of the most productive in the Big Ten this season averaging a little over 15 points per game this season.
“The growth as a player and a person. I just understand the game more, my basketball IQ has gotten 10 times better than last year. The points really don’t matter, what matters to me is the win,” Iesha Small said.
Small has stepped in her role as the sixth man this season and has been a huge part of the Maryland’s success coming off the bench. She averages 12.5 points per game with 5 boards and 2.5 assist.
The Terps play George Washington tomorrow in the Xfinity Center at 7 p.m. and then will end their home stand against Loyola (Md.) at the same time Monday night.
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