By Brandon Alter
Special to The Sports Pulse
Anything can happen in a one-and-done tournament. One bad game can end the season.
In No. 2 seed Maryland’s opening round game against No. 15 Holy Cross Friday afternoon, the Terrapins came out strong and ensured their season would last at least one more game, routing the Crusaders 93-61.
Maryland controlled the game from the opening tip. The Terrapins set up a full-court press, speeding up the Crusaders and forcing turnovers. Faith Masonius picked off an errant pass and scored a layup on the other end, giving Maryland an early lead they would never surrender.
In the opening quarter, the Terrapins got it done at each end. Maryland forced 11 turnovers in the opening 10 minutes. Holy Cross didn’t score until three minutes remaining in the frame. Maryland had a commanding 23-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I loved the start. We were ready to play,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “We were locked in. We came out [strong] defensively, forcing a lot of turnovers.”
Overall, Maryland forced 24 turnovers, leading to 37 points on the other end. Masonius and Abby Meters led the way for the Terrapins with a trio of steals each.
Meyers scored 16 points, while Shyanne Sellers and Diamond Miller each scored 13 apiece. Miller led the way with eight rebounds, while Sellers had 8 assists. Masonius finished with 10 points, eight of which came in the first quarter.
It wasn’t just the Terps’ stars contributing. All 11 players scored for Maryland in the win.
Maryland’s bench contributed 37 points, with Brinae Alexander leading the charge scoring a game-high 18 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
“We have a lot of lethal weapons on this team,” Alexander said. “That definitely makes us hard to guard, hard to scout as well because you can’t just shut down one player.”
There were times when the Crusaders figured out the Maryland defense, but the Terrapins kept them at bay by matching it on the other end.
In the third quarter, Maryland’s lead spanned 35 points (69-34), and Holy Cross never got close. Frese emptied her bench in the fourth quarter as the Terps cruised to victory.
“The start of the third quarter, we didn’t bring that same energy, that intensity that we did in the first half,” Meyers said. “I think we’ll take this as a great lesson. It’s March Madness. You got to play all 40 minutes. Any minute can be detrimental or really good.”
Maryland will face No. 7 seed Arizona on Sunday. The Wildcats defeated No. 10 seed West Virginia 75-62 earlier Friday afternoon.
“Our conference prepared us for a game like this,” Frese said of the matchup with Arizona. “They press. We press. It’s definitely going to come down to who executes on both ends of the floor. Who gets stops defensively, and who can execute on the offensive end.”