Starting 3 freshmen, Terps women stay focused, cruise to win

December 28, 2009|By Steve Yanda | The Washington Post

The goal for the Maryland women's basketball team Sunday night in the opening round of the Terrapin Classic was simple: Whatever you do, keep your eyes off the scoreboard. The challenge was more daunting than it might have seemed, given that the Terrapins were playing Stony Brook, a bottom-dwelling team from the America East, on a night when seemingly everything was clicking.

Maryland (10-2) scored the first eight points of the game and led by 20 at halftime, but what impressed coach Brenda Frese the most about her team's 76-44 win at Comcast Center was that the players achieved their primary objective.

"We talked a lot about not playing to the opponent, but playing to get better," Frese said. "I thought it was a positive seeing how well we played for 40 minutes."

There was an assortment of reasons Maryland trounced Stony Brook (2-9) by 32 points. The Terrapins owned the boards, defended vigorously and received significant contributions from their reserves, just to name a few.

Freshman forward Diandra Tchatchouang might have been the leading scorer with 17 points, but hers was only one of the prolific performances that propelled Maryland to victory. Sophomore center Lynetta Kizer recorded her 12th career double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman forward Tianna Hawkins added six points and 13 rebounds of her own.

Maryland out-rebounded Stony Brook 55-36, an advantage that led to a hoard of second-chance points. In all but one game this season, Maryland has out-rebounded its opponent.

The Terrapins limited Stony Brook to 25 percent shooting from the field and kept the visiting team from scoring at all in the game's final four minutes. Maryland turned 20 Stony Brook turnovers into 26 points.

"We were able to mix it up on defense," Frese said, noting that the Terrapins performed effectively in both their half-court and full-court presses.

The Terrapins' cause was aided off the bench by redshirt freshman guard Jackie Nared, who had 15 points and seven rebounds, as well as senior guard Lori Bjork, who added 16 points on 4-for-9 shooting from three-point range.

Bjork served as a reserve rather than as a starter Sunday night. Consequently, Maryland's starting lineup included three freshmen - Tchatchouang, Hawkins and guard Dara Taylor - for the first time this season.

"The biggest thing we need from Lori is her poise and composure," Frese said. "On a very young team, we need her to lead with experience. She really showed her calming presence" Sunday night.

While Bjork stretched the Stony Brook defense along the perimeter, Nared worked the lane. Bjork and Nared each played 28 minutes and combined to make 50 percent of their shots.

Maryland will host North Carolina-Wilmington on Tuesday in the third and final game of the Terrapin Classic. Stony Brook will play UNC-Wilmington on Monday in Game 2.

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