Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Fast start propels Terps to victory over UMBC

After a hard fought win against Georgia Tech on Thursday, No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball dominated in-state foe UMBC, 92-61, from start to finish. The Terps, now 8-0, did not trail at all throughout the game, dominating both on offense and defense. The biggest factor for the Terps today was their size and length in the post.

Maryland finished with 50 points in the paint, compared to only 18 for UMBC. Taking a 15-3 lead to start, the Terps set the tone early using their size and length advantage. Junior forward Stephanie Jones and freshman forward Shakira Austin both demonstrated their length finishing with 17 and 15 points respectively. The Retrievers had a serious size disadvantage inside compared to Austin, who stands at six feet five inches tall.

“We wanted an inside-outside presence, especially with how talented our bigs are and the size advantage that we had over them today,” head coach Brenda Frese said.

In addition to their strong post presence, Maryland had a strong day on the glass, out-rebounding UMBC 44-28. Austin led the Terps with 11 rebounds to continue her strong start to her freshman campaign. Entering the game, Austin was one of the top rebounders in the nation averaging 12.7 per game.

Offensive balance was key for the Terps throughout, with five different players finishing in double-figures. Junior guard Sara Vujacic came off the bench and provided a spark for Maryland, finishing with 13 points, a season high.

“I just have to stay ready, I need to trust my coaches and teammates,” Vujacic said.

Junior guard Kaila Charles, the Terps leading scorer, got off to a hot start with eight points in the first quarter, however, the strong bench play limited her playing time the rest of the game.

Ball security improvement was an important key for the Terps entering this game, and they did a great job in the first half finishing with only three turnovers. Limiting turnovers was vital in allowing the Terps to build their 28-point halftime lead. Despite nine second half turnovers, Frese was happy with her team overall.

“We were able to force a lot of turnovers, I loved our ball security in this game,” Frese said.

The Terps strong paint presence created open opportunities on the perimeter. Maryland finished shooting 50 percent from three point range, finding open opportunities when the Retriver defense would crash down inside. Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell knocked down three shots from behind the arc, continuing her strong outside shooting to start the season. Overall, Maryland finished 55 percent from the field.

Maryland will now take on James Madison next Saturday at 12:00 p.m at the Xfinity Center looking to extend their record to 9-0 to start the season.