WASHINGTON (AP) — After proving it can excel in a tight contest, coach Brenda Frese’s Maryland team also showed it can avoid the hangover.
Alyssa Thomas scored 15 of her 17 points in the first half and No. 6 Maryland cruised to a 76-42 victory over American on Sunday, four days after surviving their most serious challenge of the season.
Laurin Mincy added 13 points for the Terrapins (9-0), who gave up a season-low points on defense and continued their best start since beginning the 2007-08 season, when the Terps won their first 10 games.
“I just thought it was a really good, solid win for us,” said Frese, whose team defeated Michigan at home 74-65 on Wednesday night. “I thought, obviously we had a balanced attack here when you look at how we were able to go inside and out in this game.”
Geleisa George scored 10 points for American (5-4), which shot just 30 percent (16 of 54) from the floor and 9 percent (2 of 22) from 3-point range.
The Eagles fell to 1-16 all-time against the Terps, including a 78-52 loss at Maryland last year and a 75-64 defeat at home two seasons ago.
“I feel like we got a ton of open looks. They just didn’t drop,” said American’s Lisa Strack, who finished with five points
on 2-of-8 shooting, well below her 11.5 point season average.
“It’s always in the back of your mind. You know that they’re Maryland and they’re longer and they’re athletic players.”
Maryland showed little sign of a hangover after Wednesday’s victory in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the first game this season the Terps have played that remained in doubt until the final minutes.
Sunday, Maryland trailed American 3-2 after the first media timeout, but shook off the slow start to build a 38-16 lead by halftime.
“Actually I never really even thought of that,” Frese said of the possibility of a let-down. “The challenge for us with this
team is you know, when we go against any opponent is getting better.”
Thomas, who had a season-high 24 points in the victory over Michigan, jump started the Terps’ offense against AU with eight of its first 12 points.
She also scored twice during a 12-0, late-first-half run, capping the stretch with a steal and layup that made it 38-14. And
she distributed four assists, including a slick give-and-go feed to Brene Moseley that made it 54-23 early in the second half.
“Once somebody gets going, it gets the rest of us going,” Thomas said. “That’s kind of our mentality.”
Moseley led the Terps with with five assists. Lynetta Kizer scored 11points and Anjale Barrett and Moseley had 10 apiece.
The Terrapins continue a month of December that won’t take them beyond the Washington, D.C. metro area when they host Delaware State Thursday before traveling to George Mason next Sunday.
If they win both those contests, they will surpass the 2007-08 team that went to the NCAA regional final, the first Maryland squad to reach that stage after Frese’s team won the 2006 national title.
“It’s a tremendous luxury,” Frese said of her team’s travel schedule. “To be able to have an opportunity to get your fans of both teams to a local game and then be able to get back home and take care of things academically where you’re not missing a school day is obviously an extreme advantage.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)