The Terps opened their season last night at the Xfinity Center with an exhibition contest against Bluefield State.
Maryland immediately discouraged any possible thoughts of it being a competitive game from the start. They jumped all over Bluefield State from the opening tip, by the end of the first quarter the Terps held a 40-9 lead. The home team just kept rolling, at the half they led 74-17.
Things didn’t get any better for Bluefield State in the second half, they were held scoreless as the home team kept rolling.
The Terps would go on to win 146 to 17, yes you read that correctly. That highly touted Freshman class made it’s debut as did transfer Ieshia Small. Leading the way was freshman Blair Watson with 29 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and two blocks on 12 of 19 shooting. She also knocked down five triples on the night. Her fellow freshmen made an impact as well, it was a good showing for a Terps team with so many new pieces.
Maryland plays it’s second exhibition game on Sunday.
Lineup Versatility. Terps started with a line up of Slocum, Confroy, SWK, Charles and Jones. Showing that they have options to match with teams that might try to take the size off the floor. Another small ball look had Kiah Gillespie at Center, surrounded by Slocum, Small, Charles and Watson. Maryland also showed that traditional look with two bigs on the floor as well
Ball movement. At media day there was much talk about the chemistry both on and off the court, at times in sports that’s literally all talk. That day, the team did seem to really like eachother. Against Bluefield State, it was clear as the ball was really flying around. Good shots were passed up for great shots.It was a trend that lasted from opening tip to the closing buzzer. Regardless of what five were on the floor, there was outstanding ball movement.
Vocal. This team is much louder on the defensive team than last year, more times than not it was Coach Frese’s voice that was loudest during defensive possessions. From the vets to the freshmen, there was constant chirping on that end of the floor. A huge reason as to why they were able to force 51 turnovers and get countless deflections. That’s not to say they were perfect, as there were a couple of lapses. There was just as much talking on the bench, in support as from the players on the floor.
Ball pressure. With the new faces, comes more size and athleticism on the wing. The Terps showed all of that off against Bluefield State. Jones and Staiti are the only players on the roster that can’t switch out and guard a perimeter player on a switch. That isn’t a problem either, there’s more than enough bodies that can get under offensive player’s skin and take away their space. That may have been the most impressive part of tonight,
Chemistry. It’s often overlooked, but it’s a key ingredient to any good team. On media day several players, regardless of their class(freshmen to seniors) talked about how much this team has gelled. How much they like eachother, it was clearly evident as the bench went nuts at the end of the 1st half off a Jenna Staiti bucket before the buzzer. There were hugs, daps, celebrations, and not just during game play. The layup lines were pure comedy as each player looked confident just being themselves.