COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s Tianna Hawkins has created matchup problems for most opponents this season, and she wasted little time establishing her dominance against Brown.
Hawkins scored 16 of her 20 points in the first half, and No. 9 Maryland cruised to a 76-36 victory against the Bears in the opening round of the Terrapin Classic on Friday.
Alyssa Thomas had 16 points and Katie Rutan added 11 points for the Terrapins (9-2), who have won five consecutive games. Maryland leads the nation with a 19.1 rebounding margin and outrebounded Brown 43-24.
“I thought it was a slow start and we had to shake off some rust,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “The second half was really good. We consistently had energy. I liked how we were able to get a lot more aggressive defensively. Really, our transition game got going from our defense. I thought we were really unselfish with the basketball.”
Lauren Clarke had eight points for the Bears (3-6), who have lost four of their past five games.
Maryland got off to a sluggish start and trailed until Rutan made a 3-pointer with 13:09 left in the first half for a 16-14 lead. Maryland took over and a layup by Hawkins capped a 12-2 run, helping the Terps extend the margin to 37-24 at the break.
“I think going into the game I had great focus,” said Hawkins, who made all nine of her field goal attempts. “I think that helps my teammates. I just hit my open shots.”
The Terps shot 54.8 percent (17-31) in the first half and outscored Brown 24-12 in the paint. The Bears managed 10 points off 14 turnovers.
In the second half, eight points by Thomas sparked a 19-0 run and increased the lead to 62-31 with 6:02 remaining.
“This gives us a lot of confidence,” Thomas said. “That is our type of game to get stops and keep pushing in transition. Once we started to get into the flow, we could see we were wearing Brown down.”
Maryland plays the winner of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Hartford on Saturday. After the tournament, the Terrapins return to ACC play Thursday at No. 16 North Carolina.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)