The Maryland women's basketball team, starting a tall lineup against dimunitive Seton Hall, outrebounded the Bucettes, 54-31, en route to a leisurely 80-59 victory in the opening round at the EAIAW tournament at Cole Field House last night.
The Terps will play Cheyney State in the second round next Friday night at Cole. Cheyney State had an unexpectedly easy time defeating Montclair State last night, 82-45, in another opening-round game.
The Terps are 18-8 while Seton Hall dropped to 20-7 and had its 12-game winning streak snapped.
Seton Hall, starting no one over 6 feet 1, had to deal with twin towers Kris Kirchner and Krystal Kimrey, but it was forward Myra Waters who initiated the rout. Waters scored eight of the Terrapins' first 12 points and wound up with 18.
"Seton Hall is good team but suffered from their lack of height," Terp coach Chris Weller said. "We still had a rough time getting the ball inside to Kris and Krystal. They weren't letting us just power the ball underneath so we started to get Myra in the offense."
The Terps, dominating the backboards, jumped to a 25-14 lead with four minutes left in the first half. The Bucettes then forced four straight Terp turnovers and cut the lead to 27-22. However, Maryland regrouped behind the smooth playmaking of Debbie Lytle and took a 34-25 lead into intermission.
Lytle, who was taken out of the starting lineup after some subpar games, ran the Maryland break perfectly in the second half as the Terps took a 53-33 lead five minutes into the half. She hit all four of her shots from the field and all five of her foul shots while passing off for seven assists.
"Debbie played very well tonight," Weller said. "If she continued to play under control as she did tonight, she'll get back in the starting lineup.
Kirchner, who scored fewer than 20 point for the first time in 10 games -- she had 15 -- grabbed 17 rebounds. Ozelina Gorham with 13 and Patti Jaworski with 12 led Seton Hall.
Weller, who has been throwing her young team up against the nation's best in preparation for this tournament, was happy.
"People have been talking about an upset somewhere in this tournament," she said, "and I'm just glad it wasn't us. Seton Hall has been a top caliber small-college team for years. We played very well to beat them as easily as we did. Small teams sometimes give us trouble because of their quickness. They're tough to stop man to man."
With a week's rest ahead, Weller plans to keep her team primed for Cheyney Statte, who the Terps defeated, 66-62, earlier this season.
"We'll be taking two days off, then we'll be practicing as intensely as possible and scrimmaging against some men's intramural tears for some good competition," Weller said.