RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Maryland dominated the paint, the glass — and its matchup with Princeton.
Kaila Charles scored 20 points and the Terrapins beat Princeton 77-57 on Friday in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Eleanna Christinaki added 16 points and eight rebounds, Kristen Confroy finished with 14 points and Brianna Fraser had 11 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-7).
They shot 56 percent in the second half, built a 43-25 rebounding advantage and pulled away after halftime to advance to the second round of the Kansas City Regional. Maryland hasn’t gone one-and-done in the tournament since 2001.
“It was just us being aggressive and intense,” Charles said. “One of our goals was to dominate them on the glass. … I feel like our will to just attack the glass and try to get extra shots for our teammates helped.”
Abby Meyers scored 13 points and Bella Alarie had 12 for the 12th-seeded Tigers (24-6), who allow just 54.3 points per game — 10th-best in the country. The Terps surpassed that mark in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter.
“That was not Princeton basketball,” coach Courtney Banghart said. She added that the tournament “requires your best and I don’t think on either side of the ball we were able to do that. Not quite sure why. We’ll break it down, and try to figure it out.
“Or maybe we won’t,” she added. “Maybe we’ll just move on, based on what that was today.”
Maryland went up by double digits to stay with a 14-4 run late in the third quarter keyed by seven points from Charles, then pushed its lead in to the 20s on Fraser’s layup with 7½ minutes remaining.
Princeton: The Ivy League champions made the tournament for the seventh time in nine years. Now the challenge is to find a way to stick around for a couple of games, with the Tigers’ only win in the event coming in 2015. Princeton’s minus-18 on the boards was by far its worst performance of the season, and any chance at the upset slipped away when the Tigers missed 12 of their first 17 shots of the second half.
Maryland: The Terrapins certainly seemed comfortable opening the tournament away from College Park — something they hadn’t done in more than a decade. Charles was in charge for Maryland, reaching double figures for the 30th time in 33 games. The Terps scored 20 second-chance points and 30 points in the paint.
“The story of our team all season long has been that it’s just not one person, but everybody sharing the load,” coach Brenda Frese said. “You saw, collectively, the strength of our team today.”
Princeton hung around and threatened to make it a game midway through the third quarter, pulling to 39-30 on Sydney Jordan’s jumper. Charles countered with a drive, and after an unsportsmanlike foul on Alarie, Confroy hit a free throw and Christinaki followed that with a 3 that made it 45-30 with 3:15 left in the quarter. Charles reeled off five quick points before Confroy ended that burst with a 3 that made it 53-34 in the final minute.
Both teams entered in the top 30 nationally in rebounding margin, with Maryland ranking 24th and Princeton five spots behind. But the Terps had no trouble on the glass, allowing the Tigers just seven offensive rebounds and four second-chance points. . Maryland, which entered as the nation’s 10th-best team from 3-point range, shot 50 percent (7 of 14) from long distance while Princeton missed 16 of its first 19 attempts from beyond the arc.
Maryland advances to the second round of the Kansas City Regional on Sunday.
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