COLLEGE PARK -- With an ambitious early schedule that includes potential matchups with six possibly ranked opponents in the first month, the No. 3 Maryland women's basketball team desperately needed a win that could be accomplished with a modicum of effort.
As if ordered from room service, the docket produced Delaware, a team picked for fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association and playing without its top scorer and with six freshmen. The result, a 91-43 Maryland win, was about what could be expected.
"This was a dominating performance from start to finish," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "We challenged them at halftime to want to play a 40-minute complete game and we did that.
"The coolest part of it all is ... that you can do some special things when you care about each other's success more than your own. We're in a really good place right now. We just want to keep this momentum."
The Terps (3-0) were never seriously threatened and easily advanced to Friday's Women's National Invitational Tournament semifinal game at Comcast Center against No. 23 Notre Dame, which beat Western Kentucky, 78-59, last night.
Frese kept senior forward Crystal Langhorne, who had seven points in Sunday's 76-66 win over then-No. 6 Oklahoma, out of the lineup with a recurring ankle sprain. Frese said Langhorne continues to be day-to-day and will be evaluated tomorrow after practice to determine whether she can play Friday.
It wasn't as if the Terps needed Langhorne. Every player who dressed saw action and scored against the Blue Hens (1-1), who were missing senior guard Kyle DeHaven because she broke a bone in her right hand during Delaware's win over Delaware State in the WNIT opening round.
Four Maryland players scored in double figures, led by junior guard Kristi Toliver, who had 19 points, and senior guard Ashleigh Newman, who scored 18 off the bench. Toliver and Newman combined to hit eight of Maryland's 10 three-pointers. Toliver had 10 assists, and Jade Perry pulled down 15 rebounds to go with 11 points.
Junior forward Marissa Coleman, who had 16 points, became the 23rd player in Maryland history to exceed 1,000 career points and got there in the seventh-fewest games (74).
"It is a great feeling and a great accomplishment," Coleman said of the milestone, "but I'm more excited about how we played. We challenged ourselves to come with the same energy and intensity that we did against Oklahoma. And the fact that we did will give us confidence throughout the rest of the season."
The Terps, who were bounced from the NCAA tournament in the second round last season, again signaled that they intend to prove their national title in 2006 was not a fluke and that they belong among the nation's elite.
"I regard Maryland as that kind of team," Delaware coach Tina Martin said. "I think they should go to the Final Four."
DELAWARE-Harrison 0-2 0-0 0, Ferguson 0-2 1-2 1, Thomas 0-3 0-0 0, Benison 2-13 0-2 5, Mundy 4-12 0-0 9, Palucis 0-4 0-0 0, Riddick 1-2 0-0 2, Kabongo 5-16 1-2 11, Irving 1-2 7-8 9, Harris 2-7 0-0 4, Jenkins 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 16-66 9-14 43. MARYLAND-Harper 3-5 3-3 9, Coleman 6-14 4-4 16, Perry 3-5 5-6 11, Strickland 2-7 0-0 4, Toliver 5-9 5-5 19, Marrone 1-2 0-0 3, Lyons 0-1 2-2 2, Newman 6-10 2-3 18, Mingo 2-5 2-2 7, Wallace 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 28-60 25-27 91.
Halftime-Maryland 46-21. 3-point goals-D 2-15 (Mundy 1-4, Benison 1-6, Harris 0-2, Palucis 0-3), M 10-24 (Toliver 4-6, Newman 4-7, Marrone 1-2, Mingo 1-2, Lyons 0-1, Coleman 0-3, Strickland 0-3). Fouled out-Mingo. Rebounds-D 27 (Irving 6), M 57 (Perry 15). Assists-D 2 (Kabongo, Thomas 1), M 20 (Toliver 10). Total Fouls-D 17, M 13. A-4,678.