Terps' Conditioning Pays Off Against Eagles

Led by freshman Alyssa Thomas's 16 points, the Terps defeated American 78-52.

On the heels of a firm half-time talk from head coach Brenda Frese last game against Towson, the Maryland women’s basketball team was determined not to repeat their slow start and to begin their next game with a demonstration of their ability to run the floor.

And within minutes of the Terps’ 78-52 victory over American University on Sunday afternoon, it became clear that this goal would be realized.

Led by freshman Alyssa Thomas, who immediately drove straight to the basket within seconds of tip-off and finished with a game-high 16 points, the Terps unhesitatingly left American behind with a 23-3 run to begin the first half.

The Terps coupled their tireless running game with pressure defense and grabbed 15 steals and 10 fast break points. Thomas also led the team in steals with 4, and five other Terps - Anjale Barrett, Lynetta Kizer, Laurin Mincy, Kim Rodgers, and Diandra Tchatchouang - followed with 2 apiece. American recorded just 4 steals and 2 points from fast breaks.

“The way they came out of the gates they really set the tone,” said American head coach Matt Corkery. “And we had a really hard time stopping the ball in transition.”

Maryland’s vital transition game was directed for much of the game by freshman point guard Natasha Cloud, who received the first start of her college career. Cloud led the team in minutes played and dished a game-high 7 assists.

Sophomore Dara Taylor followed with 4 assists and provided a spark for the Terps with a near-constant press on American’s point guards.

As a team, the Terps posted 19 assists for the night compared to American’s 9.

Fueled by their superior conditioning, the Terps were also able to capitalize on their lauded depth and size.

The Maryland coaching staff was able to implement a nearly constant rotation of substitutions, as 10 players recorded at least 13 minutes of time on the floor and 11 players scored for the Terps.

Maryland also out-rebounded American 40-29, led by Thomas and Kizer who each grabbed 7 boards, and followed closely by freshman Alicia DeVaughn, who snagged 6. Maryland out-scored American 46-18 in the paint.

American’s leading scorers, who both recorded 13 points, were both guards, as their normal leading scorers, 6’0’’ forward Michelle Kirk and 6’2’’ forward Liz Leer, could not compete with the height and athleticism of Maryland’s post players.

“They’re big and long, but they can move,” said Corkery. “Usually when we see big and long, we don’t see [that] quickness and explosiveness.”

On Sunday, Maryland women’s basketball fans got a chance to see what their Terps can really do when they invest in their desire to be ‘one of the fastest teams in the country.’

“We wanted to have a lot of energy,” said Frese. “And what sparked it was our transition game. I thought we did a great job in terms of really being up-tempo.”

The victory over American marked Coach Frese's 200th win at Maryland and she reached the milestone faster than any coach in program history.

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