COLLEGE PARK -- The weather outside Cole Field House last night was frightful, and so was the level of basketball inside for the opening round of the Dial Soap Women's Basketball Classic.
Loyola (0-6), which fell to the Huskies, 82-57, in the opening game, was competitive for a while longer than UMES (0-5), which in a 102-31 pasting by the Terps could muster only four field goals and 14 points in the first half.
But, even with their intensity and heart, the Greyhounds and Hawks seemed to prove that true top-to-bottom parity has not yet arrived in women's basketball.
"You're looking at different levels of Division I here," said Loyola coach Pat Coyle. "The size and athleticism is what it's about. That's why we're playing teams like this. Our kids have to understand what the next level is all about."
Time and again, during both games, taller, faster players from Maryland and Washington would outleap, outrun and outscore badly overmatched opponents, who needed a supreme effort just to score routine baskets.
"Their caliber of intensity was just impressive," said UMES coach Lisa Jones. "We had to step up our game just to keep up with them. They were able to keep it up throughout the game where we tended to fatigue at times."
By contrast, tonight's championship game between the Huskies (6-1) and the Terps (5-2) should be a test of teams that are strong inside.
One key matchup is Maryland senior forward Bonnie Rimkus against Huskies junior Laura Gonsalves.
Rimkus is an inch taller at 6 feet 4, but both play similar inside-outside games. The Huskies are deeper, but the Terps have won their last 16 straight regular-season home games.
"I don't think [the Huskies] are getting the recognition they deserve," said Maryland coach Chris Weller. "They are as good as any team I've reviewed on tape."
The Terps, who had an all-time-low 13 field goals in a loss to Tennessee earlier this month, held the Hawks without a field goal for the first 11:27 and did about everything they wanted en route to a win in their first game in 16 days, tying an all-time record for the biggest victory margin in the program's history.
Rimkus led six Maryland players in double figures with a game-high 23 points to go along with 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Monica Adams and Michele Andrew had 17 points each.
The Terps shot 60 percent from the field, and held UMES to 19 percent.
"I knew we had to play really well to get momentum back on our side," said Adams. "We needed to get back on track."
In the first game, Loyola looked a lot less like a team without a win and more like a team with a decent chance at an upset, running off the first 10 points of the game.
"They came out to an impressive start and we weren't ready for it," said Washington forward Tara Davis.
The Greyhounds exploited Washington's pressure for early baskets, until the Huskies adjusted.
Once untracked, Washington as serted control, particularly on the boards, where they out-rebounded the Greyhounds 52-26.
Their superiority on the offensive glass was even more pronounced, as they pulled down 28 offensive rebounds to three for Loyola.
"We lost our concentration," said Loyola coach Pat Coyle. "Once they put pressure on us, we forgot how to play. We have to handle that a lot better than we did."
Said Washington coach Chris Gobrecht: "They earned our respect very quickly. We needed to have that respect to pick up the level of our game."
Gonsalves scored a career-high 20 points with nine rebounds, and center Rhonda Smith had 22 points and 13 rebounds, nine on the offensive end.