Balanced Scoring Leads Terps Over Lafayette

Despite going 17 days between games, the Terps showed no rust as they defeated Lafayette 84-36.

After going 17 days without playing a game, one had to wonder whether Maryland would be a little rusty to start their first game of the Terrapin Classic against the Lafayette Leopards. But the No. 5 Terps didn't skip a beat in returning to their dominating play this season, defeating Lafayette 84-36. The win pushed Maryland's record to 12-0.

The game started with an 11-0 Terrapin run, in which Tianna Hawkins scored seven points. Samantha Jordan then hit two free throws to put Lafayette on the board five minutes in, but the Leopards would miss their first seven shots from the field.

“I really liked the start that we had, obviously having the long break I thought we were ready to play … great intensity, I thought we dictated defensively which really led to our transition game,” said Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese.

Maryland went up 18-2 after Anjale Barrett stole a pass and took it in for an easy lay-up, but the Terps were just getting started. Consecutive three-point plays by Lynetta Kizer and Laurin Mincy stopped a mini Lafayette run, and six points in two minutes by Brene Moseley made it 39-11 with five minutes left in the half.

The Leopards would only manage two free throws the rest of the stanza, as Maryland took a 51-13 lead into the locker room.

Lafayette's shooting struggles loomed large, as they ended the half shooting a dismal 12.1% from the field. The Terps defense also forced 11 turnovers in the half.

The rest of the game was not the domination the first half had been, but Maryland did what they needed to do to finish strong. Lafayette responded to four straight points by Essence Townsend with an 11-3 run, as they finally began to find a scoring touch. But the Terps used a run featuring nine points combined by Moseley and Whitney Bays to go up 75-30 with a little over five minutes remaining. They would go on to win 84-36.

“We knew it was certainly going to be an uphill battle, and first of all, to Maryland's credit, I think they go from the defensive end to the offensive end the best as I've seen in the country. Their transition offense is just kind of incredible,” said Lafayette Head Coach Dianne Nolan.

It was also a great defensive effort for the Terrapins, as they forced 22 Lafayette turnovers and had 10 steals. Maryland once again won the rebounding battle, 55-to-29.

We were up against the top rebounding team in the country,” added Nolan. “We are normally a good rebounding team. We tried to get creative with boxing out, but they are just tenacious on the boards.”

Offensively, the Terps had very balanced scoring, with five players in double figures. Moseley had 12 points and six assists, Alyssa Thomas added 11 points, Tianna Hawkins had 10 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double, Essence Townsend contributed 10 points and seven rebounds in just 13 minutes, and Lynetta Kizer finished with 10 points.

“I think our focus was there the whole game, we had 17 days off to get in the gym and get better so we were all looking forward to playing a good game this game,” said Tianna Hawkins. “Everyone played well, even everyone coming off the bench.”

Playing time was plentiful, as everyone saw at least nine minutes and no one played more than 25.

“For us we didn't have to play a ton of minutes, so when you look at the depth that we have across the board I think we were able to manage that well,” said Frese.

One thing missing from today's game was a Maryland three-pointer. Frese has said before that this team will go as far as its guards take it, but she was not concerned about her team's perimeter play.

“I think typically we've shown we don't shoot [0-9 from three] back-to-back when we've shot like that in the past,” she said. “This is the first time Kim Rodgers has been back in this rotation in three weeks, so I think a lot of that will come back in terms of our rhythm and being up in a game today.”

Tomorrow night, Maryland will face the winner of today's game between No. 19/20 Delaware and East Carolina in the final round of the Terrapin Classic. Should the Terps face Delaware, they will be playing against the nation's leading scorer in Elena Delle Donne. Delle Donne averages 29.3 points per game.

“It's a game we would be extremely excited about,” said Frese. “Elena is obviously extremely talented, as well as their entire team. They're having a tremendous season, so as a competitor it would be a great match-up to be able to have.”

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