Following a strong showing in the Virgin Islands, the No. 9 Maryland Terrapins easily could have suffered a letdown against Appalachian State at Comcast Center last night. The Terps, after all, beat the Southern Conference team by 20 points a year ago.
Instead, the Terrapins were relentless and determined and handily dispatched the Mountaineers, 118-59, before 2,354. The Terrapins (4-1), who had won their first four games by an average of 29.5 points, enjoyed their largest margin of victory and their second 100-point game this season. Only a five-point loss to No. 2 Tennessee last Saturday prevents them from holding an undefeated record.
"Obviously, I'm extremely excited about how hard we played," Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. "I know there were a lot of questions in terms of if we're going to have a letdown coming back from the Virgin Islands. With this team, I wasn't [concerned]. With past teams, there might have been a concern but this team has really given us as a coaching staff a lot of confidence. I fully expected that they were going to come out and play hard."
Six of the nine Maryland players who appeared in the game scored in double figures and three finished with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds. Shay Doron had 20 points and Crystal Langhorne, Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman each finished with 17 points. Coleman also had 10 rebounds and Toliver had 11 assists for their first collegiate double-doubles. Jade Perry added 16 points and 16 rebounds -- both career highs.
Maryland completely overwhelmed Appalachian State (1-3) from the tip. The Terrapins scored on their first six possessions, made 14 of their first 19 shots and held a 37-point halftime lead. Before the second half started, four Maryland players had scored in double figures and Perry had a career-high 12 rebounds. The Terrapins shot 60 percent and held the Mountaineers to 34 percent. They outrebounded Appalachian State 54-23.
"Before the game, Coach told us about great teams and how we should just punish them by 40, so that's what we did because we feel that we're a great team," Perry said.
The confidence Maryland gained from last week's tournament -- knocking off then-No. 9 Michigan State, last season's national runner-up, and taking No. 2 Tennessee to the wire -- was evident. The Terrapins are playing well together, have balanced scoring and possess a fearlessness about them.
"I just love where we are at right now with this team and the chemistry and how hard we're playing," Frese said.
Even without its full complement of players, Maryland had little trouble on this night. Laura Harper, who is averaging 11 points and 7.6 rebounds, did not play. Harper missed most of last season with a torn Achilles' tendon and began feeling soreness after last week's grueling tournament. She was in uniform, but the coaches wanted to rest her. Kalika France, a two-year starter, has not played this season because of knee problems. Frese said France is only 40 or 50 percent healthy. It is not known when she will return.
"We don't know if it will be any time soon or if it will be this season," Frese said. "She's really working to try to get herself back."
* GEORGE WASHINGTON 68, VILLANOVA 60: Kimberly Beck scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and Jessica Simmonds had 10 points and 14 rebounds to hand host Villanova its first loss.
Sarah-Jo Lawrence (6 of 8, 15 points) scored eight in a row, including a key three-pointer, to start a 10-0 run for GW as it pulled away from a 58-58 tie in the final four minutes.
Whitney Allen totaled seven points and 12 rebounds for GW (2-2), which outrebounded Villanova, 42-25, and held the Wildcats (4-1) to 18-for-50 shooting.
* UMBC 68, AMERICAN 56: Guard Brittnie Hughes scored a game-high 19 points and handed out nine assists, and the Retrievers pulled away in the second half at Bender Arena.
Forward Abby Lipski scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Eagles (1-3), who were tied at 24 at halftime but faded, finishing with 34.5 percent shooting. UMBC (3-1) shot 50 percent.