And on Friday, December 10, the Terps (9-1) did exactly that with a 71-45 victory over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers.
Freshman forward Alyssa Thomas - who returned to start after having missed the last game against Loyola due to having recently received stitches for a knee laceration - began what would become a 15-0 run to start the first half by hitting a jump shot in the first sixteen seconds of play.
Following Thomas basket, it seemed as though the Terps literally could not miss, sinking a season-high 56.6% of their shots.
No matter who had the basketball, the Terps shots were falling, and they clearly demonstrated a commitment to sharing the ball, as 8 players shot at 50% or above.
The Terps depth continued to be a vital asset, as nearly every player had a play worthy of the highlight reel; in the backcourt, fans witnessed sophomore point guard Dara Taylor sprint down the court to finish a nearly acrobatic reverse layup, freshman guard Laurin Mincy take a charge, and walk-on freshman guard Sequoia Austin knock down a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tumultuous uproar from the crowd. In the frontcourt, sophomore forward Tianna Hawkins continually powered to the glass and freshman center Alicia DeVaughn leapt into the air and ripped down a one-handed rebound in dramatic fashion.
The Terps balanced scoring efforts, led by Hawkins with 16 points, were further evidenced as they matched their season-high 21 assists, led by junior guard Anjale Barrett, who dished 6.
I thought we really came out early with that knockout punch. We were ready to play, said head coach Brenda Frese. We were very unselfish moving the basketball and shooting the ball with confidence.
The Terps used this unselfish play to nullify the effects of the Retrievers zone defense, successfully distributing the basketball with multiple skip passes and therefore exploiting its weaknesses.
The strength of such teamwork was also visible defensively, as Maryland appeared particularly effective collapsing on players in the paint, allowing UMBC zero second chance points.
The Terps also committed a season-low 12 turnovers while gaining 24 points from UMBC turnovers.
And the Terps solid performance was not only impressive but timely, according to Frese. Were almost through our non-conference play, said Frese. Were getting ready for ACC play, so this is where you want to start clicking on all cylinders and gaining some momentum.
We have confidence now, said Barrett. But we want to keep improving. And with [uninterrupted] practice time [ahead], it just gives us enough time to get better and better.
After final exams the Terps travel to Delaware State on December 19 and return home to play La Salle in the beginning of the Terrapin Classic on December 28 at noon.
Lynetta Kyzer reached 600 career rebounds and Tianna Hawkins reached 400 career points versus UMBC.