By Lila Bromberg
Despite a rough start, Maryland women’s basketball pulled away to defeat Albany 91-58 in a convincing first game of the season.
Maryland entered the game ranked 15th in the AP Coaches Poll and 13th by USA Today after losing its top three scorers from last season.
The Terps blew out their opponents in both of their exhibition games, the first 130-61 against Glenville State on Oct. 29 and then 98-47 against Bowie State on Nov. 3.
Maryland came out onto the floor struggling to score and defend with four turnovers and only 25 percent of its shots made with 4:50 left in the first quarter. The team continued to falter a lot on offense unable to get much up despite multiple second chance opportunities.
At the end of the first quarter the game was tied 14-14 and the Terrapins were lacking any signs of life.
Head coach Brenda Frese attributes the lackluster start to it being the regular season matchup.
“I thought the first quarter looked like the first game of the season, a lot of nerves and jitters I thought with our sloppy play and a lot of turnovers, she said.”
But everything changed once sophomore guard Blair Watson hit a three at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. From there, Maryland went on an impressive 30-2 run for over nine minutes to end the half 44-18.
“Blair [Watson] was able to get us started with a big three and I thought we were able to kind of feed off of that run with a lot of momentum, Frese said.
“I think that once we got stops that really got us settled in and we just started getting our rhythm on offense and that just led us into the rest of the game,” Watson said.
Maryland continued to look more put together with crisp passes and a cohesive flow on offense in the 3rd quarter.
Though they played well for the majority of it, the Terrapins offense slowed down towards the end of the 3rd quarter.
Though still up by a wide margin, the Terrapins level of play dropped off a little in the fourth, with what seemed to be a lack of energy on both ends of the floor. Albany outscored Maryland 21- 15 to end the last quarter.
Still, Maryland took the victory in stride with a strong show of team play.
The Terrapins’ scoring was spread out fairly evenly, with all but one player coming away with points. Six players on the team had double digit points, with Blair Watson leading the way with 16 points as well as five rebounds, two steals, a block and an assists.
“I think that says to all of us that we’re all leaders on this team and we all have something to contribute and at the end of the night it’s all of us instead of just one,” Watson said of the team’s cohesiveness.
Sophomore Stephanie Jones also had a very impressive all-around performance with 18 rebounds, 11 points, six steals, four assists and three blocks.
In their next matchup on Nov. 13 the Maryland Terrapins will face last year’s NCAA champion South Carolina at home.
“We’ve got to be better in a lot of areas especially taking care of the ball and defensively, I mean we had some really easy breakdowns tonight that we can’t afford to have, but again perspective that every team right now is early into the season in terms of you know kind of learning as we go,” Frese said of the team’s focuses moving forward.
But Frese has absolute confidence in her team.
“I know this team knows every time they come onto the floor they’re going to come out and compete and they’re going to compete to win,” she said.