By: Chris Gharagozlo
The Maryland’s women basketball team moved to 9-0 after they picked up a dominating 87-63 win over James Madison at the Xfinity Center on Saturday behind the strong scoring outputs of Kaila Charles and Brianna Fraser.
The Maryland’s women’s basketball team entered the game as the No. 7 team in the AP and the Coaches polls. They are coming off a dominating win against their neighbor, UMBC, by the score of 92-61 on Sunday to improve their record to 8-0 at the time.
Both teams came out ready to play in the Saturday afternoon matchup. The Terps and the Dukes traded baskets throughout the first quarter. Charles, the junior guard, came out with six points at the start of the first quarter. She entered the game leading the Terrapins in points per game with 15.1, and in a tough matchup against the Dukes, her early efforts helped Maryland get off to a good start. She pushed the pace for Maryland, and finished the first quarter with 10 points.
When asked if Maryland wants to push the pace early in games, Coach Frese said: “We really do. That kind of was a really big focus in practice this week.” She added how much she loved seeing that element transfer from practice into this game.
Maryland came out a little sloppy and had three quick turnovers that led to six easy fast-break points for James Madison. However, the Terps settled down and played like they’re accustomed to. They pushed the pace, outrebounded the Dukes 10-5 and forced five turnovers early in the game. The Terps pulled away late in the first, and the quarter ended with the Terps leading 26-15.
The second quarter started with neither team scoring in the opening two minutes. The second quarter was all about defense. The Terps were hounding the Dukes’ offense and forced James Madison to shoot 27 percent from the field in the first half. Maryland’s defense also forced 10 turnovers. The Terps used their defense effort to lead to offense on the other side of the floor.
Maryland leads the country in the rebounding margin and is second in the country in rebounds per game with just over per game. This game was no different. In the first half, they had 25 rebounds in comparison to James Madison’s 14.
The Terps’ rebounding led to many fast-break opportunities. Charles continued to have herself a day as she made the most of the fast pace the Terps were playing. She finished the first half with 18 points, already surpassing her season average.
The first half concluded with the Terps leading 46-22.
The second half brought more of the same. The Terps continue to use their rebounding and pace to keep their advantage. Maryland continued to be aggressive and they found themselves on the free-throw line often. They finished the third quarter 14-of-17 from the free-throw line.
The third quarter ended with Maryland leading James Madison by the score of 64-40.
James Madison came out hard to start the fourth quarter with a quick 6-0 run but the Terps squashed the Dukes’ run. In the second half, they were led by senior forward Brianna Fraser. Fraser was dominating inside the paint, and was scoring at will.
Coach Frese joked with Fraser during the game saying she had a problem because Fraser was playing so hard and she could not take Fraser out. Fraser finished the game with a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds. Both Fraser and Charles scored 24 points on the afternoon, and Fraser matched her career-high scoring output.
When asked about her breakout game, Fraser gave credit to her teammates, saying, “I just came out and tried to be aggressive, and my teammates gave me a lot of confidence to continue to be aggressive.”
The Terps ran away with the game early and never looked back. Charles and Fraser dominated throughout and the Terps showed their scoring balance as four players scored in double figures.
The Terps look to continue their undefeated streak on Monday at 11 a.m. at the Xfinity Center as they play another fellow Maryland school, Loyola.