The Maryland Lady Terrapins (number 14 in AP poll, number 11 in coaches’ poll) made a trip up to Baltimore to play the Coppin State Lady Eagles for their final nonconference game before kicking off their first Big Ten regular season against Ohio State. The Terps got off to a fast start and made it stand up all the way to the end.
Head Coach Brenda Frese’s squad jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes of the game, and kept pulling away from there on the way to a 110-51 win at the Coppin State University Physical Education Complex on Dec. 21. Maryland (9-2) led 59-25 at halftime, thanks to 61.1 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, and 22 points off 17 Coppin State turnovers. Maryland went on a 15-4 run in the first 4:46 of the second half to extend their lead to 74-29. Maryland shot 58.1 percent for the game, while holding the Eagles (1-9) to 39.2 percent. Frese said it was defense that was the theme of the day for Maryland.
“From the tip, we set the tone I thought with our defense and our transition…I think we’re playing some of our best basketball right now,” said Frese. She added that the game was a good final tune-up before heading into conference play.
“This is where you want to kind of be climbing to. We just came off of finals, and to be able to see that we didn’t have a lot of rust, given the break of a long stretch, gives us a lot of confidence heading into conference play,” Frese said. The Terps were able to crisply move the ball down the court when they got the ball, using crisp passing and effective cuts to the basket for layups. The Terps also used drives to set up wide open looks for Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy on three-pointers. One thing Frese said the team worked on in practice during the break for finals was sharing the ball.
“It was something we’ve really been working on, in terms of making that extra pass and being unselfish, and I thought we executed really well,” said Frese.
While the Terrapins jumped out to a big lead early, sophomore guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough says the team tries to continue executing and playing its game.
“We always say, ‘Just play Maryland basketball,’ and that’s defend, rebound and run,” said Walker-Kimbrough, who had 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. “We don’t want to play the score. We just want to continue to play within ourselves, and play Maryland basketball.” Coppin State made two out of just three three-point attempts, and didn’t even shoot a three in the second half.
“I think we locked down the three pretty well tonight,” said Moseley, who finished with 18 points and eight assists. “And I think that opened up a lot, so as that opened up a lot, that kept the post players wide open, and we got a lot of dish-downs.” Moseley said that being able to drive to the basket and kick the ball out to shooters led to Maryland’s 23-13 assist-to-turnover ratio in the game. She also said Maryland’s transition game opened things up for the rest of the offense.
“I think we just ran hard. I think our transition got us a lot of things that were open, so our guards running hard and our posts screening down got a lot of stuff going that we got a lot of easy shots early,” Moseley said.
Coppin State committed 29 turnovers, and Maryland scored 39 points off turnovers. The Terps outscored the Eagles 54-16 in the paint, and had 25 second-chance points. Maryland finished with a 44-28 rebounding advantage.
The game marked a homecoming for redshirt freshman forward A’Lexus Harrison, who attended Digital Harbor High School in Federal Hill. She says it was “a big step” for her to be able to play against a school in her hometown.
“I think to come back and play was just really fun. I have a lot of friends on the (Coppin) team, and it was really just a lot of fun, honestly, just to play against a lot of my friends and actually be back home,” said Harrison, who had 12 points and eight rebounds. She said while it’s important to play every game with the same mindset and put the same amount of effort in, it was still fun to be able to play in front of a home crowd.
Frese said her players dedicated the game to Theo Stipich, a longtime Lady Terps supporter and season ticketholder who’s been battling lung and brain cancer. Frese said the players sent him a letter saying that they’d come out ready to play and keep him in their minds.