Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Women's basketball: Shakira Austin makes most of first Terps start

For Associated Press

Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time, Shakira Austin responded with 17 points, 13 rebounds and a Maryland record-tying eight blocks.

She helped the No. 5 Terps improve to 11-0 with a 77-53 victory over Delaware on Thursday.

The 6-foot-5 freshman said she was excited for her first collegiate start, but knows Maryland will have to get better as it gets ready for the start of Big Ten play.

"It was a little sloppy," Austin said. "But we'll leave with a Christmas break win."

Kaila Charles had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Stephanie Jones (Aberdeen) and Taylor Mikesell each had 15 points for the Terps, with Mikesell hitting five 3-pointers.

Makeda Nicholas had 12 points for Delaware (4-7) before leaving with an injury with 7:28 to play. The Blue Hens are 0-13 against the Terps.

"We belong on that same stage," Delaware coach Natasha Adair said. "Being on our home floor, we didn't look like we didn't belong. If you're intimated, you're already 15 points down before the ball even goes up, and this group is not."

Maryland had a 16-2 run to take a 24-10 lead with 7:29 left in the second quarter. The Blue Hens cut it to 27-21 with 2:56 remaining in the first half, but never got closer. They trailed 56-41 at the end of the third quarter.

Both teams struggled from the 3-point line, combining to miss 17 shots until Mikesell hit one with 2:06 left in the first half.

Maryland had 55 rebounds, and despite shooting only 36.8 percent, coach Brenda Frese liked her team's physical presence.

"I thought our post game was sensational, and I thought they had no answer for us inside," Frese said.

Due to final exams and the holidays, Maryland had been off since Dec. 10, and won't play again for another eight days.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: Finished undefeated in conference play and began the season with 11 straight wins for the second time in three seasons. Two years ago, the Terps opened 12-0.

"It's got to get a lot better for us going into conference play," Frese said.

•Delaware: Hadn't hosted a ranked opponent since March 26, 2013, when it beat No. 13 North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.

"Our team is preparing for March," Adair said. "Our schedule was designed to do that, to be battle-tested.'

MINOR INJURIES: Austin was hit in the mouth with 6:36 to play in the first quarter, and her two free throws began the Terps on a 22-4 run.

"It got a little bit of meat coming out," Austin joked. "It's a little hard to talk, but it will heal before the (Christmas) pictures."

Nicholas was fine when she came in for the postgame session.

"I got in my eye, and then on the way down, I hit my head on the ground," Nicholas said.

RUSTY TERPS: Frese said that she wasn't surprised that her team was a little ragged.

"Coming off of finals, not playing for about two weeks, kind of one foot out the door, being ready for the holidays," Frese said. "It showed in a lot of areas."

SUMMING UP NONCONFERENCE PLAY: Frese said that she was happy with how Maryland played in its games before the start of Big Ten play.

"This is a very motivated, competitive, driven team that loves to win," Frese said. "Now, we understand that it's going to get harder and more difficult in conference play."

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
46°