By Hannah Fields
The Maryland women’s basketball team (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten) showed its skill and balance on the court when it took on Mount St. Mary’s (1-7, 0-0 NEC) at home. The Terps defeated the Mountaineers by a score of 97-57 as five Terps scored in double digits.
The Terps dominated from start to finish, winning the tip-off and maintaining their high level of play throughout the entire game. Turnovers were the name of the game for the Mountaineers, who had a total of 25 turnovers, 16 of which were just in the first half.
“Our defense definitely brings our energy,” senior Ieshia Small said. “We were able to get right into our full court press… and set our standard of where we need to play and how we always need to play.”
The Terps started the game with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Blair Watson, who led the team in their 13-0 run to start the first quarter. The Mount struggled offensively from the start due to the Terps’ stout defensive pressure, and did not score their first points until the middle of the first quarter.
“Our starts have been really good lately. We love that mentality, setting the tone,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “We’re just trying to sustain that through the course of 40 minutes.”
Notably missing from the court tonight was Maryland junior forward Brianna Fraser, who reportedly is recovering from a minor ankle injury suffered before the game.
Despite the loss of Fraser in the paint, the Terps were able to dominate offensively, with Watson, sophomore Kaila Charles, and senior Kristen Confroy each racking up eight points by the end of the first quarter. Confroy posted an impressive 16 points and six rebounds after scoring 23 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the Terps 75-54 win over Akron.
“I think that because we are such a versatile team, that even without Bri, we are able to contribute in a way that makes up for her absence,” Jones said.
The Terps to exercise their control on all aspects of the game into the second quarter, overpowering the Mount’s defense inside the paint on the perimeter. The Mount had trouble infiltrating the Terps defense to score inside the paint, often losing control and giving the Terps 17 fast break points.
The Terps also showed their well-roundedness as a unit, with nine points off of the bench and seven players on the board by the end of the first half.
“I love being able to see five players in double figures because I think it makes you really difficult to defend,” Frese said.
The Terps opened the second half with a 54-23 lead over Mount St. Mary’s, and right out of the gate Watson drove to the basket for an easy layup. The Mount began to show some energy on offense with a big three from sophomore guard Ashlee White, but the Terps quickly countered with a three from Confroy.
Small reentered the game for the Terps nearing the end of the third quarter, and showed her skill on offense with a behind-the-back layup, followed by another three from Confroy to give the Terps a 71-35 lead over the Mount.
Jones led the Terps attack defensively, earning four steals by the end of the third, and nine rebounds and 16 points when the final whistle blew.
After sinking a contested layup in the start of the fourth quarter, Small left the court with what appeared to be a lower leg injury, but reentered minutes later. Small racked up 21 points on the night and was the leading scorer for the Terps.
“My basketball IQ is ten times better than last year… growth as a player and a person has played a huge part,” Small said.
Just three points shy of 100, the Terps showed their talent on both sides of the ball, defeating Mount St. Mary’s by a 40-point margin.
The Terps will face off against George Washington (3-5, 0-0) on Friday, Dec. 8 at home at 7 p.m.