In an early season test for both teams, South Carolina beat Maryland 63-54 Sunday in College Park.
The Gamecocks were led by their freshman center Aliyah Boston and their senior floor general, Tyasha Harris. Boston dominated the paint on both ends with 14 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks. Harris provided a steadying hand for her young team with timely baskets.
Maryland was led by freshman point guard Ashley Owusu with 17 points and seven rebounds. Kaila Charles had 11 points, but the Terps struggled to shoot the ball efficiently.
The game didn’t have early November vibes, rather that of a contest played in March. These are two young teams with some quality seniors, that should only get better as the year progresses.
This was a very close game despite neither team shooting the ball well at all, the difference was the grit that South Carolina played with.
Both teams got after it on the defensive end, making things tough for their opponents. The Gamecocks were able to score inside at times while the Terrapins struggled, Coach Frese mentioned that Boston’s presence led to her team overthinking layups at times and missing.
The second quarter is where the visitors made their run, outscoring Maryland 16-9. That was the biggest point differential in any of the quarters played, no other quarter was decided by more than three points.
Asked about Shakira Austin not playing much in this this one, only 14 minutes. Brenda Frese stated that “she isn’t ready yet” and specifically meant from a consistency standpoint. “She will be a star” said Frese, but “She has to go through her process.” That will certainly be something to keep an eye on as Maryland goes throughout the season, she could be the difference maker for them in games like this.
South Carolina has exactly that in Boston, she has a great set of hands and such a good feel on the defensive end. She allows her team to play inside out through her and it just makes things easier. Like Maryland, the Gamecocks have a highly touted freshman class that should only grow as the season goes on.
This was a fun contest and both teams are certainly worth keeping an eye on through conference play and in March.