SAN ANTONIO – As a first dance at the Big Dance, things couldn’t have gone much better for No. 7 Maryland on Monday.
Ashley Owusu scored 20 points with eight rebounds and seven assists, Chloe Bibby had a double-double and the Terrapins raced to a 98-45 victory over Mount St. Mary’s in the opening round of the women’s NCAA Tournament.
Owusu scored six points during an 18-0 run that was part of a 25-4 blitz in the second quarter that decided the outcome. The Terrapins then went on to their largest margin of victory in the NCAA Tournament, surpassing an 89-54 win in 1989.
“Today was a great day, when you look at no one had to play heavy minutes,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “You need to be able to build that experience and that depth off the bench. I love the fact that every player was able to get in and play significant minutes. That just helps us advance and continue to have fresh legs.”
Diamond Miller added 19 points for second-seeded Maryland (25-2), which will take a 14-game winning streak into a second-round game with seventh-seeded Alabama in the Hemisfair Region on Wednesday. Bibby had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Nine players scored and had at least two baskets out of the 10 players who played. Every player got at least 10 minutes of action and no one played more than 26 minutes.
“You saw it on display, just the unselfishness. Making easy plays for one another. That’s when we’re playing out best basketball,” Frese said after her team had 21 assists on 34 baskets, which led to 52 points in the paint. “We made a lot of great plays today.”
The Terrapins shot 52.3% for the game, going 11 of 15 in the second quarter when they turned an 28-18 lead into a 53-22 blowout.
No player reached double figures for Mount St. Mary’s (17-7), which was in its third NCAA Tournament after back-to-back appearances in 1994 and ’95. Michaela Harrison, Aryna Taylor and Bridget Birkhead each scored eight for the Northeast Conference champions.
Mount St. Mary’s went 8 of 36 from 3-point range, 7 of 25 inside the arc, shooting 24.6% overall while being outrebounded by 18, outscored at the foul line by 18 and having 20 turnovers, twice as many as the Terrapins.
“I feel that they’re just a really better version than us,” Rebecca Lee said after scoring seven points. “They push the ball, and they shoot very well, and they’re very athletic, and I appreciate being able to play a team like that, when you get here. Everyone’s good it’s not just you, that’s good. So being able to play them and to be able to fight with them in the first quarter was amazing.”
Mount St. Mary’s: Leading scorer Kendall Bresee struggled, going 0 for 10 and scoring five points. Meanwhile, Lee, the league tourney MVP, was saddled with early foul trouble.
Maryland: The Terrapins are now 9-0 against the Mount, which is located 70 miles away. … The Terps will have someone that can keep up with them in their next outing against Alabama. The Crimson Tide topped North Carolina 80-71 as point guard Jordan Lewis scored 32 points with 11 rebounds and eight assists. … Maryland is now 16-0 in the first round under Frese.
ANGEL HAS LANDED
Angel Reese, a 6-foot-3 freshman, was considered the No. 2 prospect in the country and she opened her career with games of 20, 15 and 16 points but in the third minute of the next game suffered a broken foot.
She came back in mid-February and produced her first double-double in the Big Ten Conference Tournament but her long absence – 14 missed games – makes her the forgotten freshman in a season of young stars.
Maryland put up some big numbers without her but Reese could be the X-factor for the Terrapins as her 11 points suggests.