COLLEGE PARK - Searching for an early-season confidence boost, the Maryland women's basketball team didn't need to wait long yesterday to find one against Coppin State.
After four straight losses to the likes of Penn State and Virginia Tech, the Terrapins used a 17-0 run to pull away late in the first half on their way to a 66-43 win at the Comcast Center.
"It's nice to be able to finish a game and get the win," said first-year Maryland coach Brenda Frese, whose team led 32-12 at halftime. "To hold them to 12 points in the first half, I thought we did an excellent job with our defense and our rebounding."
Maryland (4-4) improved to 8-0 all time against the Eagles.
As top scorer Renneika Razor finished with just five points, 15 below her average, Charmaine Carr, Angel Ross and Terri Daniels each stepped up with 10 for the Terrapins, who can again go over the .500 mark Saturday against UMBC.
Coppin (4-3) hung with Maryland early, cutting the lead to 10-8 on Antoinette Reese's steal and layup midway through the first half.
The Terps, however, then soundly quashed that threat, turning up their intensity against Coppin's deliberate offense, creating turnovers and holding the Eagles to a single shot on most possessions.
Using a stingy matchup zone, Maryland kept Coppin scoreless for the next 7:39, building its lead to 27-8 on Brie Jackson's layup 3:20 before halftime.
"It was a matter of picking our intensity up on defense and pushing the ball on transition," Ross said.
Coppin coach Derek Brown offered a different explanation.
"I thought we came out apprehensive," Brown said. "We thought we were ready to play, but obviously we just had some nervousness. I guess we were in awe."
Forward LaKesha Wills scored 12 to lead the Eagles, who shot just 29 percent and committed 21 turnovers.
After his team played significantly better in the second half, with the outcome sealed, Brown wondered how the Eagles might have performed without the early jitters.
"They're a decent team," said Brown, "but I know they're not that much better than us."