Towson made life difficult for the heavily-favored Maryland women's basketball team early in their matchup Saturday at SECU Arena. The host Tigers took a 3-2 lead in the second minute of play and trailed by only one with less than six minutes left in the first half, giving the announced crowd of 981 hope that an upset might be in the works.
“I thought they came out with a lot of great energy and were ready to play really physical,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “And we weren't quite ready for it. I thought we were kind of on our heels early.”
But a switch to zone defense by Frese triggered a 12-0 run by the Terrapins and Towson never really recovered, as they fell to eighth-ranked Maryland, 90-53.
“I think Maryland made a good adjustment,” Towson coach Niki Reid Geckeler said. “They went to zone and we had a difficult time scoring against that zone.”
After two free throws by Brionna Jones gave the Terps a 24-21 lead with 5:49 left in the first half, Maryland dominated the rest of the way, opening up a 16-point halftime lead on their way to a 37-point final margin.
Tigers senior Tanisha McTiller led all scorers with 25 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Dominique Johnson added 11 points and LaTorri Hines-Allen had 8 for the Towson.
Alyssa Thomas led the Terps (4-1) with 15 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth consecutive double-double. Laurin Mincy and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each added 14 points for Maryland.
“I think once we started getting out in transition, they started breaking down defensively,” Thomas said. “We just kept attacking them and fed off of that.
Towson (1-4) took an early one-point lead on a 3-pointer by McTiller 1:30 into the game. But they couldn't build on the advantage, as Nyree Williams missed two free throws 30 seconds later before Maryland went on a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead with 16:17 left in the first half.
The Tigers tied the game at 11 on a layup by McTiller, but the Terps took the lead for good on Brene Moseley's jumper with 12:47 left in the first half.
After trailing by as many as five, Towson cut the Terps' lead to 22-21 on two free throws by Johnson with 6:46 left in the half. But Maryland's 12-0 run over the next three minutes gave them a 34-21 lead.
Thomas grabbed her 10th rebound of the game off a 3-point attempt by Johnson with 4:12 left in the first half to give the Maryland forward a first-half double-double for the third consecutive game.
The Terps increased their lead as the first half came to a close, taking a 46-30 advantage into the break.
Towson played even with the Terps in the opening minutes of the second half, cutting the lead to 53-39 with 16:35 left in the game. But Maryland took over again from there, increasing their lead to 23 points over the ensuing five minutes.
The Terps dominated the rest of the way, leading by as many as 39 points on their way to the win.
It was the second consecutive lopsided victory for Maryland, which topped George Washington by 36 points Tuesday after falling to top-ranked Connecticut last Friday in the Terps' only loss this season.
Towson has lost two straight since picking up their only win of the season against Manhattan last Saturday.
The Terps will return home to face Drexel on Monday, while the Tigers will host UMBC on Tuesday as part of a doubleheader with the men's team.