By Lila Bromberg
The No. 15 Maryland Terrapins were dominated by the No. 1 Connecticut Huskies in a 97-72 loss, which marked the program’s worst start to a season in 18 years.
Maryland hasn’t started a season off with a record of 2-2 or worse in all of Brenda Frese’s years as head coach. The last time Maryland started this poorly was in the 1999-2000 season under head coach Chris Weller.
However, there is the factor of playing tough opponents early to consider. This is the second time Maryland faced a top five team this season.
Maryland fell to the 2017 NCAA Champion and fourth-ranked South Carolina 94-86 at Xfinity Center on Nov. 13.
Having such a tough schedule so early on is a huge tell to how far Maryland can go come March. The South Carolina game showed that this team can stay relevant against some of the best in the NCAA, but this didn’t remain true against Connecticut.
And, as of right now, the team has a lot of work to do if it wants to be able to hang with such teams later on.
The Terrapins and Huskies last met up on Dec. 29 last season. While the Terrapins may have been able to stay in the game against this team last season, without top scorers Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Brionna Jones and Destiny Slocum a six point win margin (87-81) turned into 25.
One of UConn’s leading scorers and top players in the country, Katie Lou Samuelson, suffered an ankle injury Friday and was out for the game. This could have given Maryland a huge advantage, but that wasn’t the case.
Maryland was completely outmatched by UConn in the first half.
The story of the first quarter was scoring runs. UConn started out on a 7-0 run and then Maryland was able to shut it out for a 7-0 run of its own.
But Maryland’s offense ceased from there, only producing four more points for the rest of the quarter. Connecticut took the first 32-11, forcing Maryland to eight turnovers and only a 28.6 field goal percentage.
Connecticut’s lead extended into the second and it took the lead going into the half, 46-21.
Maryland came into the second half already stuck in a hole that it couldn’t dig its way out.
Despite a bit more show of energy, Maryland simply couldn’t score against Connecticut’s tough defense. Whether it was the 19 turnovers or the 30.8 field goal percentage as well as the 18.2 three point percentage, nothing was working for the Terrapins through the first three quarters.
In the fourth the Terrapins were able to get 16 points off of turnovers and their field goal percentage improved, but the effort was too late and the large deficit remained.
However, one bright spot of the game was guard Kaila Charles’ performance. The sophomore had 29 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
The Terrapins will look to improve their record as they return home for a matchup against Howard University (0-3) on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m.