By: Alejandro Cornman
The No. 9 ranked University of Maryland women’s basketball team improved to 2-0 on the season with an 82-71 over the Dayton Flyers. Kaila Charles led the Terps with 22 points, while Taylor Mikesell had 15 points and Shakira Austin and Blair Watson each added 14 of their own.
Julia Chandler led the Flyers with 23 points, as they fell to 1-1 on the season.
Dayton opened the scoring with two straight three-point field goals to make the score 6-0 Flyers. However, the Terps controller the rest of the quarter. Forward Stephanie Jones displayed a strong rebounding performance on both the offensive and defensive glass. This helped the Terps take an 8-7 lead, and they didn’t look back.
Watson had an immediate impact off the bench for the Terps. With some great backcourt defense, Watson scored eight consecutive points in 32 seconds, bringing life to the previously quiet Xfinity Center crowd.
“Blair’s lift off the bench was phenomenal, the energy that we were able to get from her I thought was the biggest difference in the game,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese.
“I don’t even know where it came from honestly,” responded Watson when asked about her 8 point surge in the first quarter. “Honestly my teammates just giving me that energy just kind of gave me the surge to be like alright let’s go let’s get it”
And it wasn’t just Watson who energized the Terps on offense. Both Charles and Mikesell also added strong offensive performances in the first quarter, scoring nine and eight points respectively in the opening 10 minutes. Mikesell hit a three-pointer in the closing seconds, giving the Terrapins a 28-11 over the Flyers after one quarter of play.
The second quarter started out much slower offensively for both teams, with the Terps playing strong defensively and forcing many turnovers, but failing to capitalize on the offensive end.
However, as the quarter went on, Dayton started to successfully break the Terps full-court press that they had struggled with in the first quarter. This was partially due to Watson picking up her second foul and being subbed out, as she had been key to the Terps backcourt pressure throughout the first quarter.
The Flyers built on this improved performance with a 10-0 run towards the end of the second quarter, helped by eight straight points of their own by Julia Chandler, which cut the Terps lead to 39-27. However, Maryland buckets by Charles and Jones at the end of the half added a cushion to the Terrapins’ lead, who went into the break with a 43-27 advantage.
The home team once again found success with their full court press after the break. After a Dayton run that brought the Flyers to within nine points at 47-38, Maryland coach Brenda Frese called a timeout. Directly following the timeout, the Terps re-installed their full-court press that brought them success in the first quarter.
The press had an instant impact, leading the Terps to four straight points after the timeout. Mikesell and Watson guided this pressure and combined for excellent transition offense, leading to two Dayton timeouts and extending the Terrapins’ lead to 66-46. The Terps only gave two points of that lead away by the end of the quarter, leading 71-53 with one quarter left to play.
After back-and-forth second and third quarters, the visiting team started to chip into the Terrapins’ lead halfway through the final quarter of play. With the Terrapins seemingly holding a comfortable lead at 80-60, a 7-0 run by the Flyers prompted the Terps to call a timeout with 2:47 left to play and the score 80-67 in favor of the home team.
Shortly after the timeout, the Flyers’ Julia Chandler, who had been strong for them all night offensively, fouled out, which made the lead insurmountable for the away side. Despite some late Dayton pressure, the Terps held on to preserve a 82-71 victory.
The 2-0 Terps travel to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, Nov. 14 for their next game, where they will take on the 1-1 George Washington.