Women’s Basketball Throttles Towson on Field Trip Day

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

By Aidan Currie

After losing the opening tip, the Terps’ defense got into its typical set around the perimeter, and forced the Towson offense to settle for a tough, contested three, which clanked off the rim and into the hands of Maryland’s Bri McDaniel. Without hesitation, McDaniel turned and sprinted to the other end of the floor, hardly breaking a sweat as she went coast to coast for an easy opening layup. 

Towson then committed a turnover and missed a three pointer on their two ensuing possessions,  setting up McDaniel again, but this time from behind the arc. The smooth triple made the score, Bri McDaniel: 5 – Towson: 0, after just two minutes of play. 

“I was just going down hill and [passing to] whoever I could hit. Or if I had the shot that I could take then I was taking it,” said McDaniel. “I was just playing my game.” 

McDaniel would go on to match her career high in points, with 19. She also added six assists and seven rebounds, as the Terps cruised to a 99-51 victory on their annual Field Trip Day.

“I know when my boys were young, just how special it was for them to come [on Field Trip Day],” said Maryland head coach Brenda Frese. “It’s something that we don’t take lightly, being role models for all the boys and girls out there. It’s a special game that we always appreciate being able to play.”

Typically, an 11:00 a.m. midweek tipoff wouldn’t draw too much energy into the Xfinity Center, but today, that was far from the case. With more than 70 Maryland elementary schools in the house on Tuesday morning the noise in the arena was deafening, as the kids did not fail to bring the energy. 

“We definitely feed off of that energy …even though it could be kind of chaotic,” said Maryland’s Brinae Alexander. “I think it’s fun to set an example for the little kids, and … inspire them through our play.” 

Entering today’s game, Towson sat at 7-1 on the season, with their lone loss coming nearly a month ago at Columbia, so it appeared that the Tigers could pose a genuine threat of upsetting the Terps. Maryland put much of this to rest in the opening few minutes though, as they started the game on an 11-1 run.  

Maryland would go on to finish the quarter with a commanding 23-8 lead behind an efficient 56% shooting percentage from the field. On the other end, the Terps employed a one-two-two zone defense, which allowed them to hold Towson to a shooting clip of just 23% in the opening frame, while also forcing five Tiger turnovers.

“[The zone] is something newer that we put in this week,” said Alexander. “I think it’s the most comfortable zone that … we like playing in, and I think we can be really active. We can also rebound really well out of it.”

The commanding early lead allowed the Terps to create some offense from behind the arc too, which is an area that the Terps have struggled from at times this season. After making just three three-pointers on 11 attempts in Sunday’s game, the Terps made three threes in the first half on Tuesday, and did so on four less attempts.   

Some of this production also came from unexpected shooters, namely, Allie Kubek. As the fourth quarter was winding down Maryland’s Faith Masonius received a pass inside, right around the free-throw line. After faking the shot, Masonius kicked it to the corner, where a wide open Kubek had plenty of time to collect herself before draining the triple.      

Kubek, a Towson transfer, would end up finishing with 17 points on an efficient 7-9 shooting. She would later miss the only other three she attempted to spoil her perfect three point percentage on the day, but Kubek has now made three’s in back to back games after not attempting one in the four games prior. 

“I didn’t want to do too much,” said Kubek. “I want[ed] to play my game, and play Maryland basketball, so I’m just really glad we got the win.”

Despite their first half-scoring woes, Towson came out much sharper in the third quarter, with a 9-2 scoring run that forced Maryland to take a timeout just inside the seven minute mark. 

“I would like to say I get this from Brenda,” said Towson head coach Laura Harper, talking about the urgency she instilled in her team at halftime. Harper was a part of the 2006 National Championship team under coach Frese, and had nothing but high praise for her former head coach. “We tried to press a little bit [and] to get some kind of energy anyway possible. So credit our team for bouncing back,” said Harper.   

Towson would actually go on to outscore Maryland 25-24 in the third quarter, but the timeout still proved vital for Maryland, not because the Terps were in danger of losing the lead, but because of who it got going: Brinae Alexander. 

After hitting seven three’s in Maryland’s win over Niagara two weeks ago, Alexander went just 4-14 from behind the arc, in the two games that followed. In the first half against Towson, Alexander’s struggles continued going 0-3 from three. 

Coming out of the timeout though, Alexander hit back to back catch and shoot triples from the wing, seemingly getting both herself, and the Terps, back on track.    

“I think my teammates and my coaches [are] helping me stay encouraged,” said Alexander. “[They keep] telling me that shooters shoot, [and I] just try having that memory that if [the shots] don’t fall, just make sure you knock down the next one.”

Carrying a 70-40 lead into the fourth quarter, Maryland were able to rack up a lot of bench minutes as every healthy member of the Terps’ roster got into the game. Freshman center Hawa Doumbouya made one of the bigger impacts off the bench, going 3-3 from the field, 2-2 from the line, and tallying eight points, five rebounds, and three assists, in just over eight minutes of play.   

“I want to give a shout out to Hawa,” said Kubek. “She’s a great big that has great vision, [and] I’ve never seen someone like that. She had a really good game today, coming off the bench, so shout out to her.”

After the win over Towson (7-2), Maryland (8-3) extends their winning streak to six games and will have a full week of practice before closing out their five-game homestand against James Madison, next Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.