By Alex Littlehales
Maryland Women’s Basketball coasted to another win Dec. 5, besting Central Connecticut State in an 86 – 43 victory to improve to 8-0 on the season.
Maryland Head coach Brenda Frese started a lineup previously unseen all season, going big and giving senior center Malina Howard her first start of the season alongside junior center Brionna Jones.
Senior forward Tierney Phirman also made her first start of the season, igniting the Terps with four points, two rebounds and an assist within the first three minutes of play.
“It’s always great to start, but at the same time it doesn’t really matter,” Phirman said. “Whatever I can do to help my team win, I’m going to do.”
The trademark of the Terps’ dominance this season has been their hustle to start games. Coming into the victory, Maryland outscored its opponents 168-65 in first quarters alone; this game was no different. The Terps broke the game open immediately, holding the Blue Devils to just two points while tallying 22 of their own in the first quarter. Maryland’s stifling defense forced seven turnovers and allowed the Terps to run the floor with ease.
The Terps offense would prove unstoppable, capturing a 41-14 lead by halftime behind junior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough’s 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
CCSU turned up their intensity and went toe-to-toe against Maryland in the third quarter, forcing Maryland miscommunication and bad passes while going on an 18-12 scoring run to start the second half.
“We had too many turnovers with kick-ahead passes that weren’t there,” Frese said. “I think we thought we could thread the needle and make that homerun pass, and we just have to be better decision makers.”
But Maryland never took its foot off the accelerator. Sophomore guard Kristen Confroy drained two of Maryland’s three 3-pointers in the waning minutes, helping the Terps outscore the Blue Devils 23-to-7 in the fourth quarter to keep their perfect season intact.
Brene Moseley finished with an electrifying game-high nine assists and 10 points off the bench. Walker-Kimbrough led all scorers with 18 points and Jones dominated inside for 14 points and five rebounds.
Despite the score differential, the Blue Devils played with heart and motivation against the No. 5 team in the country. A buzzer-beating half-court prayer from CCSU’s Kiana Patterson stunned the crowd and drew applause from even the most hardcore of Terps fans. Center Emma Stroyan displayed an arsenal of impressive post moves, scoring a team high nine points and four rebounds.
But the Terps boast a plus-36 scoring differential, and programs both ranked (No. 20 Syracuse) and unranked have not been able to challenge the goliath that is Maryland Women’s Basketball.
“The game keeps you humble and hungry,” Frese said. “There’s a lot of things we can do to improve and get better.”
Maryland returns to the XFINITY Center Dec. 8 to play Loyola for an in-state matchup, and with each game prepare to square off against NCAA Tournament foe and reigning National Champion UConn Dec. 28.