Four days after its first loss of the season, in which it failed to score for the final seven minutes, the 10th-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team never gave American a chance, zooming to a comfortable lead early in the first half on the way to a 94-54 victory at Comcast Center.
Senior forward Tianna Hawkins fueled the victory by scoring 15 of her game-high 25 points in the first 20 minutes, including half of Maryland’s opening 12 points. Her fourth field goal before intermission expanded the lead to 27-10, and the Eagles immediately called time out with 9 minutes 6 seconds to play.
From there the Terrapins (3-1) used a 17-5 burst featuring three three-pointers to grow the margin to 44-15, the largest of the half, and were well on their way to a ninth consecutive win against American. Maryland improved to 12-0 at home against its area opponent and 17-1 all-time. Its 47 points at halftime were two short of its entire total in a one-point loss to Saint Joseph’s on Saturday in Philadelphia.
“We’ve been talking about having a fast start, but we were definitely motivated,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “Given the tough loss the other night, we wanted to bounce back quickly and be able to not look back.”
Reserve freshman center Malina Howard scored a season-high 17 points on 7-for-12 shooting and added seven rebounds and two assists, and starting junior center Alicia DeVaughn chipped in 15 points and had nine rebounds to match Hawkins, who shot 10 for 13.
Also impacting the outcome against the Eagles was inserting freshman Chloe Pavlech as the starting point guard. Pavlech finished with a game-high eight assists and three points with two turnovers and for at least one afternoon stabilized Maryland’s search for a primary ball-handler following a season-ending injury to sophomore Brene Moseley, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament on Oct. 21.
“Coach B and everyone else on the team has really trusted me,” Pavlech said. “And with their trust it’s been able to give me a lot confidence. Everyone on our team can score. It’s just a matter of getting them the ball at the right time.”
Junior Laurin Mincy had started the first three games at point guard, but in Saturday’s loss, she had six turnovers. The move to Pavlech, who played 26 minutes, in part helped Maryland collect 29 assists and commit a season-low 14 turnovers. With Pavlech playing just five minutes against Saint Joseph’s, Maryland had a season-high 19 turnovers and just 11 assists.
Against American (0-3), Frese was able to give all nine players on the roster at least 13 minutes each, and the Terrapins were able to win handily even without the usual output from junior forward Alyssa Thomas. The ACC player of the year scored seven points in 24 minutes and took just six shots.
Settling back to her customary spot at shooting guard, Mincy had four points, four rebounds and seven assists with just one turnover in 22 minutes.
“I just feel like we kind of have to get our players back in their natural positions with really asking AT and Laurin to do a little bit more outside of their natural positions,” Frese said. “Obviously Chloe played point guard in high school and AAU and has a level of toughness to her. The energy, I just thought she was really good.”