TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Towson’s Tanisha McTiller believes her teammates’ lack of confidence and execution were more to blame for a lopsided loss to No. 8 Maryland than the Terrapins’ prowess.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with Maryland,” said McTiller after scoring a season-high 25 points in a 90-53 loss to the Terrapins on Saturday night. “It was just us ourselves. Confidence was a big part.”
Even Towson’s ability to dictate the tempo early and keep Maryland from running its dangerous transition game through much of the first half only worked to a point.
When the Terrapins started to bend the outmanned Tigers, they quickly broke, turning a close contest into a one-sided rout.
“One of our focal points going into the game was to make sure we played the game in four-minute segments, being very focused on each possession and very focused on the process,” said Towson coach Niki Reid Geckeler.
That strategy worked for the first 12 minutes or so, but Alyssa Thomas and Maryland finally figured out that running and gunning would tire out Towson, especially with its two starting forward on the bench in foul trouble.
Thomas finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Maryland used a late run in the first half to pull away.
“Once we started getting out in transition, they started breaking down defensively,” said Thomas. “We just kept attacking them and fed off of that.”
Lauren Mincey and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 14 points each for Maryland (4-1), which has won two straight. The Terrapins improved to 14-5 all-time against the Tigers (1-4). Brene Mosely had 11 points and Brionna Jones 10 for Maryland.
Dominique Johnson added 11 points for the Tigers, who have lost two in a row.
“Maryland made a good adjustment,” said Geckeler. “They went to zone and we had a difficult time scoring against that zone during that eight-minute spurt. We know we can go back to our drawing board and we know we have a couple of things to work on as it relates to that.”
Thomas had five points during the decisive 12-0 run late in the first half that blew the game open. Maryland’s bench outscored Towson’s reserves 56-7.
“It’s the difference for our team this year, to have everybody healthy and really be able to send waves,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. “I think you saw that separation late in the first half and then in the second half, where we can wear teams down with the talent that we have on our roster.”
Early on, however, it was Towson that dictated the pace and made it difficult for Maryland to get any offensive traction.
The Tigers frustrated the Terrapins with a zone defense, and Towson was content to patiently work the ball on offense, draining the 30-second clock in search of high-percentage shots.
Two free throws by Dominique Johnson pulled Towson within 22-21 with 6:46 remaining in the first half before the Terrapins turned up the pressure over a decisive three-minute stretch. With Tigers forwards LaTorri Hines-Williams and Nyree Miller on the bench in foul trouble, Maryland took full advantage.
Jones knocked down two foul shots, Thomas converted a steal into a three-point play and then followed with a transition layup for a 29-21 edge. Jones’ three-point play and two free throws by Mincey extended the lead to 13.
Johnson’s 3 from the left wing ended the burst, but the damage was done.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)