Months without stepping foot onto the court, Maryland women’s basketball didn’t miss a beat, dominating the Davidson Wildcats, 94-72, in it’s 2020-21 season opener.
Head coach Brenda Frese was able to use her roster’s depth, which allowed five players to score in double figures, as the Terps spread the ball around, this afternoon.
“The luxury that I’ve seen is that there is a lot of fire power on this team and everyone can score,” Frese said. “We were able to take advantage of that today and now it’s about being consistent and putting our offensive and defensive abilities together.”
In the first half, the Terps struggled defensively but were able to hold the Wildcats to shoot just 36.6 percent from the field in the third quarter.
“I think our defense will get there,” Frese said. “They’ve got a lot of work to do so right now I think they have the mentality that they’ll outscore everyone. But, I think tonight you saw that when your shot isn’t falling you’re going to have to be able to defend the three and get rebounds. When we give great effort and we’re all on the same page, good things will be in store for us this season.”
Frese was also high on the effort and performance of her two transfer veterans in forward Chloe Bibby and guard Katie Benzan. Bibby finished with nine points with nine rebounds, while Benzan dropped 13 points, adding two rebounds and two assists.
“It definitely helps to have their veteran led experience,” Frese said. “They’ve played in so many games and helped to calm us down and really settle in today.”
Although the Terps were in foul trouble throughout the afternoon, five-star freshman forward Angel Reese and sophomore guard Diamond Miller tied and led all scorers with 20 points and combined for 14 rebounds.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen today, I wasn’t really nervous, but I just had the mentality of playing confident,” Reese said. “My teammates gave me the confidence to go out there and just play my game. It was a great feel for my first game and I just love the college environment.”
Miller didn’t have many opportunities to demonstrate her effectiveness from beyond the arc or her impeccable mid-range game, but did a nice job using her physicality to score in the paint.
“My shot was off today, and when your shot is off you have to adjust and go to the basket,” Miller said. I was just playing aggressive and running the floor well and tried to get my opportunities and help my team out as much as I can.”
With a 40-37 halftime lead over the ‘Cats, the Terps made some key adjustments to ultimately outscore Davidson 54-35 in the second half.
“The foul trouble really hurt us in the first half and we weren’t able to get into any kind of a rhythm,” Frese said. “I thought Davidson came out and punched us pretty hard, but I’m proud of our response and how we were able to settle in and play a much more disciplined second half.”
The Terps look to move to 2-0 on the season as they head into a battle with the No. 24 Missouri State Lady Bears Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Alico Arena in Estero, Florida.