The Mountaineers had proven a substantial 3-point threat, shooting 55.6% from beyond the arc for a total of five 3-pointers that helped keep them in the game every time the Terps tried to extend their lead.
Furthermore, freshman forward and reigning ACC Rookie of the Week Alyssa Thomas, who led the team with 13 points in the first half, had to receive stitches for a deep cut on her knee and would not be returning for the second half.
I thought in the first half we were flat and looked kind of fatigued, said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese.
However, the Terps quickly extinguished any thoughts of an upset, going on a 7-0 run to start the second half and demonstrating a revitalized focus on defensive pressure and communication, offensive penetration, and greater capitalization on their height advantage as they beat the Mountaineers 81-65.
We really felt like we needed to step up our energy, especially with loose ball plays and our communication, said Frese. [And] we wanted to go to our strength and our size and really take advantage of our length [in the second half].
Marylands defensive pressure in the second half was able to limit Appalachian States leading scorer, senior guard Sam Ramirez (15 points), to just 1-6 from the 3-point line, compared to 3-5 in the first half.
The Terps reenergized focus also led the team to take greater care to protect the ball, committing only 5 turnovers in the second half compared to 12 in the first and allowing the Mountaineers just one steal in the second, compared to 5 in the first.
The Terps were led offensively in the second half by the dominant post player rotation of sophomore Diandra Tchatchouang, who posted a season-high 17 points, junior Lynetta Kizer (12 points), sophomore Tianna Hawkins (9 points), and freshman Alicia DeVaughn (9 points).
DeVaughn also led the teams rebounding advantage of 50-37, ripping down 13 boards.
Freshman point guard Natasha Cloud led the offensive surge in the backcourt, scoring all 8 of her points in the second half and demonstrating clear determination to draw the foul driving to the basket, as she scored 6 of her points from the foul line.
I thought [Cloud] was a lot more aggressive [in the second half], said Frese. [And] really confident in terms of her attack mentality.
As a team, the Terps attack mentality led to increased contact and put Appalachian State over the foul limit, and the Terps had 28 free throw attempts, of which they made 18, going 64.3% from the line. The Mountaineers had only 15 attempts.
The Terps shot 46.3% from the floor and outscored the Mountaineers 54-18 in the paint, 22-9 in second chance points, and 16-2 for fast break points.
I thought we did a much better job [in the second half] just being really unselfish, said Frese. And our post players dominated the game and were really, really aggressive.
The Terps head out on the road again to play Loyola on Tuesday, December 7, and return home on Friday, December 10 to play UMBC.