Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Strong defense and offensive rebounding guide Terps to season opening victory

After two dominating exhibition victories over Kutztown and Clarion, No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball defeated Coppin State in their season opener 93-36 at the Xfinity Center.

“Obviously it was great to be able to get so many players on the floor and get them really involved,” Head Coach Brenda Frese said.

The Terps carried a great defensive intensity throughout the night, pushing them toward a win. Despite only shooting 39 percent from the field and 29 percent from three, the Terps stifling defense allowed the Eagles very few open opportunities and held them to 25 percent shooting.

The duo of freshman forward Shakira Austin and freshman guard Taylor Mikesell impressed in their first regular season action for the Terps. Mikesell started off the scoring by draining a three, following an offensive rebound from junior guard Kaila Charles. She led all scorers with 18 points including four three pointers. The freshman showcased the ability to score from downtown, as well as taking defenders off the dribble to the basket.

Austin demonstrated her great size and length, using it to extend over opposing defenders in the post for open shots and rebounds. She led the Terps with 21 rebounds on the night, as well as finishing with 12 points, her first career double-double. In addition to the 21 rebounds, Austin finished with seven blocks, an imposing presence in the paint. There were several possessions throughout the game where Austin had multiple offensive rebounds, creating third, and even fourth opportunities.

In addition to Austin and Mikesell, junior forward Stephanie Jones scored 12 points while Kaila Charles finished with 11 points. The Terps had offensive threats from all over the court, both in the paint and from beyond the arc.

“We have so many weapons inside and out, we need to be able to utilize that so we can be good as a team and go far,” Charles said.

Offensive rebounding was key to the Terps building their 28-point halftime lead. The Terps had 20 at halftime, while the Eagles only had 18 total rebounds the whole first half. Austin and the duo of junior forward Stephanie Jones and senior center Brianna Fraser combined for 14 of the team’s 20 offensive rebounds.

As a result of the dominance on the offensive glass, the Terps had 15 second chance points while the Eagles only had three. The Terps finished the game with 28 second chance points, compared to allowing only seven for the Eagles.

In addition to their strong rebounding, the Terps forced 20 turnovers, while only committing eight. From the opening tip, Frese had the Terps pressing and playing extremely physical defense. As a result of the 20 forced turnovers, the Terps were able to score 27 points off of them.

“Huge to be able to have 20 assists and eight turnovers,” coach Frese said. “Our defense lead to our offense, I thought we were extremely aggressive in spurts and we were able to get some easy looks.”

The Terps will look to continue their strong performance, hosting Dayton on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in the Xfinity Center.