Freshman forward Shakira Austin earned her first career start when the Maryland women’s basketball team went on the road to face the Delaware Blue Hens on Thursday. She also tied a Maryland record for most blocks in a single game with eight and recorded a season-high 17 points.
Scoring the first points of the game, Austin led Maryland (11-0) to its 12th win over Delaware (4-7) all-time and helped maintain their undefeated record as they look forward to Big Ten play next week.
Despite some sloppy play on both ends of the court at the start of the game, the Terps came storming back from being down 6-2 in the first quarter. In the final minutes of the first quarter, the Terps went on a 16-2 run in six minutes and were on a 10-0 run before the Blue Hens snapped the streak.
Maryland ended the first quarter with a 20-10 lead. Junior Stephanie Jones led the Terps’ scoring with eight points, and junior guard Kaila Charles was close behind her with six.
Charles and Jones finished the day as two of the three top scorers, along with Austin, and combined for 19 rebounds.
The Blue Hens ended the first quarter shooting under 25 percent from the field, and it didn’t get much better in the remaining game.
Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell, usually a three-point machine for the Terps, struggled in the first half from behind the arc. Midway through the second quarter, neither team had scored a three-pointer despite 14 attempts.
Mikesell finally broke through and scored the game’s first three-pointer in the final two minutes of the first half, her first of the day after nine attempts, and ended the game with 15 points.
The Terps went three minutes without scoring in the second quarter, and by the time there was just under three minutes to go in the half, the Blue Hens had cut the lead to only six. Delaware went on a 6-0 run in less than two minutes, and the Terps on the other hand made one out of seven shots, forcing head coach Brenda Frese to call a timeout.
Though neither team had a shooting percentage above 30 percent at the end of the half, the Terps held a 35-23 lead. The Terps made up ground on the free throw line, scoring 14 out of 17 free throw attempts. Jones led the charge with 13 points, Austin had nine points and eight rebounds, and Charles went into halftime with eight points and seven rebounds.
In the third quarter, the Terps established their largest lead of the game going into the under-five minute timeout with a 47-32 lead. The Terps still could not fully pull away from the Blue Hens, though, and the teams’ stats were nearly identical other than free throws.
Eventually, Austin’s powerful drives in the paint and strong defense from the Terps proved to be too much for the Blue Hens. Neither team had a stellar offensive performance, but Delaware finished shooting 30 percent from the floor and made only one three-pointer all game.
The sloppy play continued throughout the game, as seen by Maryland’s 18 turnovers and Delaware’s 19. Maryland’s aggressive nature inside the paint, though, allowed the Terps to get to the free throw line more often than the Blue Hens, scoring 21 points in free throws.
The Terps will have a holiday break before going on the road to take on Penn State on Friday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in their first Big Ten game of the season.
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