If you somehow thought the Maryland Lady Terrapins’ 146-17 win over Bluefield State was a fluke, think again. In their second (and final) exhibition game of the season, they easily defeated visiting Mary Baldwin 153-27 on Sunday.
A team ranked No. 6 in the preseason Associated Press poll isn’t expected to have trouble with non-Division I schools, so there’s a good chance we won’t see any banner-lifting after such a successful preseason. Though head coach Brenda Frese acknowledged as much, she succinctly offered some perspective as to what the team will take away from such a dominating preseason.
“Obviously, the game is going to continue to increase and the competition when we go to Division I opponents, but I thought we had good discipline to what we were doing,” said Frese.
Discipline is a principal element to a great basketball team.
This element was on full display against the Fighting Squirrels on Sunday as the Lady Terps protected the ball (just seven turnovers) and turned down good shots for great ones (40 assists).
On the defensive end, they forced an eye-popping 44 turnovers and racked up 35 steals due to full-court pressure and aggressive trapping.
Starters Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Destiny Slocum (team-high seven steals) were suffocating in the opening minutes. One sequence that exemplified this was when Walker-Kimbrough scored on an easy layup early in the first quarter, then immediately stole the ensuing in-bound pass and laid it up to take a 19-2 lead.
Slocum lead the team in assists (again) with seven, and showed why she is so highly regarded nationwide. She’s the quintessential floor general, and was a big part in the team’s 40-2 lead heading into the second quarter.
It’s hard to nitpick with such a lopsided scoreboard, but Slocum–as she did all game–took the lead when her and two other teammates were asked what they could improve on before the season starts next week.
“I’d say free throws, still,” she said while looking down at the stat sheet on the press table.
Then, as she was beginning to wrap up her response and move on, the point guard received an assist from Frese who pointed at the sheet.
“Oh, and our [defensive] three-point percentage,” said Slocum. “We allowed a lot of open looks and if that was another team…they could make more.”
So to recap, in two games, this team amassed nearly 300 points, gave up just 44 and forced 95 turnovers. Yet, their freshman floor general is level-headed enough to know they aren’t perfect. If that’s the attitude of a freshman, one could only imagine the messages the team will receive from seniors like Walker-Kimbrough.
The Lady Terps will open their season on Sunday, Nov. 13 against UMass Lowell at 1:00 p.m.