Every member of the roster scored for Maryland, which received 45 points from reserves and played for the first time since dispatching visiting Georgia Tech, 67-54, Thursday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. One game before that, the Terrapins beat Georgia, 58-51, to win the Puerto Rico Classic over Thanksgiving break.
Maryland (8-0) owns an average margin of victory of 28 points this season, with its only result in single digits coming against the Bulldogs.
“I thought we got a lot of valuable minutes today from the bench, being able to have every player come in and score and really be able to extend the lead,” Coach Brenda Frese said.
The decisive stretch unfolded early in the second quarter when the Terrapins embarked on a 17-0 run, getting six points in that push from Stephanie Jones, all coming off baskets following her own offensive rebounds. The junior forward contributed a team-high 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting.
Frese used just one timeout during the game, calling it early in the third quarter after the Retrievers had trimmed the deficit to 20 points. Minutes later, Maryland stretched the margin to 73-43 courtesy of a 13-3 surge featuring two three-pointers from reserve guard Sara Vujacic, a native of Slovenia.
The junior college transfer in her first season with the Terrapins scored 10 of her career-high 13 points in the second half, during which Frese was able to substitute liberally as she continues to fine-tune her rotations for the start of Big Ten competition late this month.
The younger sister of former NBA player Sasha Vujacic, a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004, Vujacic went 3 for 5 from beyond the arc and added three assists and two steals in a season-high 26 minutes.
“I’ve just got to stay ready,” Vujacic said. “I’ve just got to trust my coaches and my teammates.”
She also was among a handful of first-year players for Maryland who Frese leaned on in yet another game against a team from the District, Maryland or Virginia. The Terrapins face six such opponents during their nonconference schedule this season.
Freshman center Shakira Austin (Riverdale Baptist High) had 15 points off the bench and a game-high 11 rebounds. The McDonald’s all-American has four double-doubles this season and leads the country in blocks (51) as well as total rebounds (100).
“I think it just helps them get more experience, just playing and getting a feel for the flow of the game,” Jones said of Maryland’s bench players. “Just getting more reps and competing every day before we get into Big Ten play.”
Guard Taylor Mikesell, another freshman, made 3 of 6 from beyond the arc on her way to 11 points. Mikesell won a national three-point shooting contest in San Antonio as a senior in high school and was one of three Maryland players on Sunday with at least four assists.
The Terrapins finished with 24 assists on 34 made field goals. They committed 12 turnovers, but UMBC managed to convert them into just two points.
Dominika Shrocka led the Retrievers with a game-high 18 points, making 6 of 7 from three-point range. UMBC shot 12 for 28 (42.9 percent) from beyond the arc.
“Third quarter, obviously we need to improve,” Frese said. “I thought it was a really slow start for us. That’s an area that we’ve got to be able to clean up, but I thought we played harder, more aggressive [after the timeout]. I thought Sara V was big with her threes today and shooting the ball with confidence.”