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Abby Meyers feels right at home as Terps close Fort Myers Tip-Off with win

No. 14 Maryland 87, Pittsburgh 63

Abby Meyers had 23 points in Maryland’s win over Pittsburgh. (Chris Tilley/Intersport)
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Abby Meyers was just as prolific as the Maryland women’s basketball team knew she could be.

In an 87-63 victory over Pittsburgh at the Fort Myers Tip-Off on Sunday, the Princeton transfer looked every bit the player of the year she was last season in the Ivy League. The former Whitman High star finished with a game-high 23 points as the No. 14 Terrapins (6-2) pushed past the disappointment of an opening-round loss to leave Florida with back-to-back wins.

Meyers, who added five rebounds and four assists, looked comfortable from the opening tip and created space for herself and for her teammates. She powered the Terps to 36 points in the third quarter — a season high — to build a 22-point lead.

“I’ve definitely been in this game long enough to know that I can have a few games where it doesn’t meet my standard of excellence and what I know I can reach,” Meyers said. “The first two games [in Fort Myers], personally I think that I tried to do other things because my shot wasn’t falling. This game, the [third] shot was a three, I knocked it down, and I knew I had the green light. …

“The third quarter, we really wanted to be that better team and really set ourselves up for the fourth quarter and be comfortable there and be able to put our foot on the gas throughout the second half. Shots were falling that third quarter. It felt good.”

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Maryland’s Brinae Alexander finished with 17 points, and Lavender Briggs added 10. Meyers, Alexander and Briggs — all transfers in their first seasons with the Terps — set career highs in a Maryland uniform. Shyanne Sellers added 13 points, four assists and four steals.

Maliyah Johnson (11 points) was the lone player in double figures for Pittsburgh (5-2). Pittsburgh had 18 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Terps.

Here’s what else to know about Maryland’s win:

No slowing down

Despite playing three games in 72 hours, Maryland looked stronger on both ends of the floor in its two wins. The Terps outrebounded Towson and Pittsburgh by a combined 83-73 margin; the difference Sunday was 43-37.

Friday’s 76-67 loss to DePaul might be what the Terps needed heading into December, with games against No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 3 Connecticut on the docket just 10 days apart. The matchup with the Fighting Irish is Thursday in South Bend, Ind.

“I think it’s a great sign because you should be more tired on Day 3,” Terps Coach Brenda Frese said. “You could tell when we came out, there was a focus. Even on the offensive end, the ball movement, the ball wasn’t sticking, and again, there’s a lot of new players that are playing together for the first time. They’re being super intentional and being very unselfish. When we move the basketball like this, everyone’s going to be able to score and assist on baskets.”

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Minimal Miller

After a solid game Saturday against Towson, Diamond Miller cooled off Sunday. The senior finished with eight points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 17 minutes.

Frese pulled Miller from the court less than two minutes into the game, sending a message to one of her best players. Miller returned midway through the first quarter but played just over two minutes in the second half.

“There’s a really high standard that we hold Diamond and this team to,” Frese said. “As one of our leaders and an all-American, there’s a standard of how hard we want to play on both ends of the floor, all the time. … She’ll bounce back. She’s a tremendous player that wants to win.”

Strong on defense

There weren’t many positives for Pittsburgh. The Panthers’ five starters accounted for just 30 points, and Maryland got 23 attempts from the free throw line, hitting 20.

“I loved our toughness and resiliency, and I thought it started on the defensive end,” Frese said. “We came out really aggressive.”

That carried over to the other end, where the Terps shot 42.9 percent (9 for 21) from three-point range.

“I’m disappointed in the second and third quarter, actually,” Pittsburgh Coach Lance White said. “I thought before then, we played well enough to hang around and see what would happen. We still have to learn what it takes to be a great program. … I just thought they whipped us in every category.”