By Hannah Fields
The Maryland women’s basketball team is gearing up to begin the 2017-18 season, and what better way to boost its confidence than a 98-47 win over Bowie State in its second exhibition game. This win follows a 130-61 win over Glenville State.
From the very first touch after tip-off, junior forward Brianna Fraser was a force to be reckoned with in the paint, scoring eight points by the end of the first quarter and getting six rebounds.
After losing the former NCAA leader in field goal percentage, Brionna Jones, the Terps will look for Fraser to dominate and score points in the paint.
“Bri Fraser is a dominant force on offense,” sophomore guard Sarah Myers said. “Giving her that confidence, giving her the ball on offense, and just letting her go to work, it’s not too hard for her to get 19 [points].”
The Bowie State Bulldogs were able to put early pressure on the Terps defense but could not capitalize on their drives to the basket. Fraser and other Terps’ defensive efforts played a large role in the Terps’ 15-1 run in the first quarter, which ended with the Terps on top 19-5.
The Terps picked up right where they left off in the second quarter, capitalizing on takeaways by Myers and totaling 26 rebounds in the first half, eight of which were offensive.
The Terps ended the half with a field goal percentage of 48.6 and a lead of 47-18.
The second half of the game followed suit, but Bowie State was able to establish itself on offense thanks to efforts by Bulldog guards Kyah Proctor and Ty-Nita Baker. Sophomore guard Blair Watson gained momentum for the Terps in the second half, scoring 17 points in the second half and 30 overall, with a double-double to top it off.
“We’re really excited about Blair and you can really see the confidence that she’s gaining from Taiwan to the practices,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “This is who she is, this is what she’s always been capable of.”
The duo of Myers and Watson helped the Terps connect offensively, and the two credit their friendship for their success on the court.
“We just have a great connection. She’s my best friend on and off the court,” Watson said.“Our connection as just people is just something that is really great to work with on the court.”
Freshman guard Channise Lewis entered the game in the second quarter and was able to show off her skill with a total of seven points. Look for Lewis and other newcomer Eleanna Christinaki, a junior transfer from Florida, to get worked into the mix in the coming months and possibly the starting lineup later in the season.
Though the season has yet to officially begin, the team almost looked to be in midseason form, and the Terps’ dominance in their exhibition games only heightens the anticipation of the season to come.
“We’re ready. I know these guys are looking forward to kind of being tested and knowing where they stand,” Frese said.
The Terps will look to carry the momentum from this dominating win over to their season-opening meeting with Albany on Nov. 10 to open regular season play, as well as the highly anticipated matchup with No. 4 South Carolina Nov. 13.