Lady Terps Cruise in 82-36 Victory

The Terps opened up their exhibition season with a 82-36 victory over Messiah.

In the first of two exhibition games to start their 2011-12 season, the Maryland women's basketball team rolled to an 82-36 win over Division III Messiah College Falcons on Tuesday.

The Terrapins opened the game up with an 8-0 run but played a little sloppy to start, committing four turnovers in the first five minutes alone. Messiah got on the board when junior guard Nicky Hess sank a jumper at the 15:18 mark of the first half.

Freshman Brene Moseley then checked in at point guard for senior Anjale Barrett, and quickly showed off her aggressiveness when she grabbed a defensive rebound and pushed the ball up the court before dishing it off to junior forward Tianna Hawkins for an easy lay-up in the paint.

Messiah cut the lead to four before Maryand went on a 12-1 run keyed by 4 straight points by Hawkins. The Falcons tried to hang in the game with a three-pointer by sophomore Chelsea Danel and a jumper by junior Kira Maier to cut the deficit to 15, but the Terps offense would prove to be too much, outscoring Messiah 12-2 the rest of the half. The teams entered the locker room with Maryland up 40-15.

Maryland forced 14 Messiah turnovers in the half, and held a 28-17 rebounding advantage over the undersized Falcons. However, one glaring omission from the Terps' first half statistics was a three-pointer.

Hawkins was the star of the first half, nearly getting a double-double with 10 points and 9 rebounds.

The second half opened with Moseley at point guard, though Barrett, who started the game at point guard, was still in. The two proved that playing together is another option for Head Coach Brenda Frese after connecting almost immediately when Moseley hit a cutting Barrett on the baseline for an easy lay-up.

After Vanderhoff made two free throws for Messiah, senior Kim Rodgers hit the Terps first three-pointer of the game four minutes into the second half off an assist from redshirt freshman Whitney Bays.

The Falcons answered with a three of their own by sophomore Kelsey Hitesman, and then the teams traded baskets for a few minutes. Maryland then re-asserted itself with a 16-0 run, highlighted by a three-point play after Thomas got fouled while making a fast-break lay-up and then made the ensuing free throw.

Messiah junior guard Jordan Seiz finally ended the run with a jumper just after the six-minute mark in the half, but Maryland would keep control the rest of the way. The Terps outscored the Falcons 9-6 to end the game, including 5 points by junior center Essence Townsend, and cruised to an 82-37 win.

“I thought it was a good beginning point … I saw some positive things and then some things as a coach that we really need to improve on,” said Frese.

Mincy scored a game-high 17 points, while Hawkins had 13 rebounds and 12 points for a double-double. Thomas and Barrett also had 13 and 10 points, respectively. Moseley finished with 8 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds, but also turned the ball over 5 times.

Maryland's size, strength, and speed advantage was obvious from the start. On several occasions the Terrapins out-muscled the Falcons in the paint, out-hustled them for loose balls, and pushed the ball up the court with a tempo that Messiah could not match. However, the scrappy Falcons were still able to grab 14 offensive rebounds, something that Frese was not happy about.

“20 turnovers is too many, giving up 14 offensive rebounds is too many…[those are] some glaring statistics that jump out at you right away,” said Frese. “Then when we get ready to go back with the team and go through the film and the breakdown of it, [we'll see] some areas where we can teach and get better.”

Maryland was without the services of senior center Lynetta Kizer, who, according to Frese, is suspended indefinitely for a violating a team rule. That left the front court lacking in depth, and Hawkins knew she needed to step up in the paint.

“That's the big emphasis with us with our size - to crash the boards and make sure we stay aggressive on the boards. That's my job,” said Hawkins.

Last year's ACC Rookie of the Year Alyssa Thomas was a defensive nightmare for the Falcons, finishing the game with 7 of the teams' 17 steals. At one point, Thomas took the ball right out of Messiah guard Megan Shipe's hands, drove the length of the court, and scored an easy fast-break bucket.

Messiah was led by Maier, who finished the game with 9 points. Vanderhoff added 7 points and 7 rebounds, and the Falcons as a team committed 29 turnovers and shot just 25% from the floor.

Maryland is next in action on November 6, when they host Holy Family in their second and final exhibition game.

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