COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland women’s basketball team, which is ranked No. 5 in numerous preseason polls, used its depth and offensive firepower to cruise past local opponent Catholic University, 110-34, Tuesday in its first exhibition match of the year.
Redshirt junior Laurin Mincy, who missed all but the first five games of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL, led the Terrapins with 15 points off 6-for-9 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds. Freshman Brionna Jones added 14 points, while senior Katie Rutan, freshman Lexie Brown and sophomore Tierney Pfirman hit double-digits as well.
“It was obviously great to be able to start competition,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “We’re excited about our depth this season and we’re healthy. You can see the waves we can bring in, in terms of our 14 players. Obviously, exhibitions are the first time you get to put on the Maryland uniform for our freshman and our three players coming back from ACLs and Tierney Pfirman too. We were able to see a lot of nice things tonight.”
The Terrapins wasted no time jumping out to a 22-0 lead by the first media timeout. Rutan hit two three-pointers in the opening 90 seconds to open the run.
A layup by freshman Shatori Walker-Kimbrough brought Maryland’s lead to 30 with 11:41 to play in the first. Twenty-two seconds later, Catholic got on the board with a trey by Liz Briones.
Maryland used nine points from senior Katie Rutan and eight from freshman Brionna Jones for a 54-10 lead at the break.
The Terrapins continued their hot streak with a 17-0 run to start the second half. Seven Terps scored in the burst andAlyssa Thomas and Malina Howard each had four points in the stretch.
Maryland’s defense forced 37 Cardinal turnovers and the Terrapins scored 52 points off Catholic’s giveaways. The Terps, long one of the nation’s top teams in the paint, outscored Catholic inside, 66-6 and outrebounded the Cardinals 49-24.
The Terrapins return four of five starters from last year’s squad that led the ACC in rebounding, as the Terps have in each of the last three years. In 2012-13, the Terps finished with a rebounding margin of +13.7, which was second in the country to Liberty. Maryland was No. 3 nationally with its field goal percentage of .471.
Thomas was voted Preseason ACC Player of the Year by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league’s 15 head coaches Wednesday. Freshman Lexie Brown was named to the Blue Ribbon Panel’s ACC Newcomer Watch List.
In 2012-13, Thomas led the league in points (18.0 per game), rebounds (10.3 per game) and assists (5.3 per game). She is the only player in NCAA or WNBA history to average over 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for a season. Thomas is currently No. 6 on Maryland’s all-time scoring list and needs 557 points to surpass Crystal Langhorne’s record of 2,247 points scored.
Maryland is ranked No. 5 in numerous preseason polls, including the ESPN The Magazine Preseason Top 25, and is No. 6 in the USA Today Sports Preseason Top 25.
Next, Maryland will host Holy Family in its final exhibition Saturday at 2 p.m. Live updates will be available at https://twitter.com/umdwbb.
Maryland will welcome Loyola in its home opener Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. The Terps will host defending national champion Connecticut Friday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.