With just under eight minutes into the game, Shyanne Sellers positioned herself inside the left perimeter. In an incredible effort, the junior guard found the passing lane, leaping to grab the ball with one hand on a high rainbow pass – providing Maryland with its third steal of the game. After accelerating past midcourt and into the lane, Sellers fired a kick to Brinae Alexander, who proceeded to splash an open three-point shot.
“[Today], we just got [Brinae] a lot more easy looks,” head coach Brenda Frese emphasized. “She’s our best three-point shooter, and opens things up. It makes [us] hard to guard…having an inside-outside presence.”
The triple capped a 9-0 run, extending an early lead that held throughout, as Maryland’s swarming defense and transition offense clicked on all cylinders to deliver a dominating 114-44 home victory over Niagara.
The Terps continued to overwhelm the Purple Eagles through constant defensive pressure and immediate fast-break opportunities. Another late first-quarter steal by Alexander – and a transition layup to follow – provided the graduate student with her fourth steal, helping extend the Terps’ lead to as much as 21 as the first period buzzer sounded.
Then, halfway through the second quarter, Alexander did it again.
More defensive swarming and pressure led to yet another Niagara turnover and a Maryland steal. In a flash, Alexander stripped the ball, then raced down court to beat three Purple Eagles’ defenders and cash in on a coast-to-coast layup – notching her fifth steal and 17th point of the day (7/7 FG), a new season-high.
But the Terps weren’t done. A controlling 24-6 run followed for the home team – led by six second-quarter points by Allie Kubek, three assists from Sellers, and four rebounds by Faith Masonius.
In the final seconds of the half, freshman Riley Nelson probed around the perimeter, dribbling around two lunging defenders. In one swift motion, Nelson released a mid-air laser pass to a cutting Hawa Doumbouya, who collected the ball and rose for an uncontested layup. The last-second bucket provided the Terps with 57 total points and a 40 point lead heading into halftime – the most first-half points for Maryland since February 2021.
Déjà vu ensued once again to begin the second half. Alexander continued her flawless day by splashing three more triples, staying perfect from deep (6/6 on three-point FG) and the field as a whole (10/10 overall FG).
“I didn’t realize I was perfect from the floor until halftime,” laughed Alexander. “But I was just in a zone.”
Then, near the end of the third quarter, Masonius converted on another fast-break layup – putting up her 10th point of the day and becoming the fourth Terp to score in double figures – to cap a six-minute, 21-10 run.
Brinae Alexander’s magic extended into the opening minutes of the final period, as an open three-point bucket gave the graduate student a career-high 29 points – earning her spot in the record books as the first Maryland women’s basketball player in school history to knock down 11 consecutive field goals to start a game.
Another pair of late fourth-quarter buckets from Nelson (15 pts.) and Bri McDaniel (18 pts.) brought the Terps to triple digits for the first time this season, extending their lead to as much as 70 before time expired.
“I pride myself on details,” stressed McDaniel. “[For] me, bringing the energy that I bring…I just want everybody to feel that with me.”
With the win, Maryland now moves to 5-3 on the season, while holding a perfect 5-0 all-time series record over Niagara.
The Terps’ five-game homestand continues this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. in an early afternoon matchup against George Mason (7-0).
“We’re [still] learning each other. The more games we play together, the more our chemistry and rotations [will] come together,” stressed Frese. “Hopefully we can continue with consistency…This is where you want to start building some momentum.”