The fifth-ranked Maryland women's basketball team knew before tip-off at Monday night's game against Penn State it would be receiving the Big Ten regular-season trophy in a ceremony following the final whistle.
The Terps played with the moxie of not just a conference champion but also a group bent on contending for a second consecutive trip to the Final Four.
Maryland scored the first 10 points of the game, led by 20 with just under three minutes to play in the first half and rendered the Lady Lions all but incidental in a 65-34 victory at Xfinity Center in College Park to remain the lone unbeaten in the Big Ten. It was the 19th straight victory for the Terps (25-2, 16-0 Big Ten), their longest since 24 in a row bridging the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
The Terps' longest winning streak in a single season was 21 in 1988-89 on the way to the Final Four.
"Obviously, going into this season there were a lot of unknowns," coach Brenda Frese said while sitting at a table displaying the hardware. "Young team, new conference and to be able come out and play the way they have in these first 16 games is not easy. They stuck together. They trusted and really worked extremely hard. Obviously something we're proud of, but the first step of many great things left for this team to be able to do."
Maryland claimed its 14th regular-season conference title, has won its most conference games and closes against Indiana and Northwestern in its quest to become the first team to go undefeated in the Big Ten since Purdue went 16-0 in 1998-99 and won the national championship. Two more victories also would give Maryland the conference's first 18-0 record since Ohio State 30 years ago.
In sweeping Penn State in front of an announced 6,307, the Terps have won 25 in a row against Big Ten opponents dating from 2007. Maryland had lost six straight to its border rival to the north entering this season and last beat the Lady Lions in College Park in 1997.
Maryland ended the competitive portion of this game by scoring 23 of the first 31 points that included 3-pointers by redshirt senior Laurin Mincy, sophomore point guard Lexie Brown and freshman guard Kristen Confroy, whose only field goal of the half produced a 16-6 lead. The Terps scored seven of the next nine points, and the lead never threatened to fall below double digits.
Penn State (6-21, 3-13) went without a field goal for the first 7 minutes, 6 seconds and committed nine turnovers within the first eight minutes trying to navigate the Terps' full-court press. Maryland allowed its fewest points in a Big Ten game this season.
Sophomore center Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) led Maryland with a game-high 17 points, and no other player scored in double figures. Frese used all 12 players on the roster and was able to give her starters extensive rest with the Big Ten tournament set to begin next week in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
The top-seeded Terps have a double bye in the conference tournament and will play March 6 at 12:30 p.m. against the winner of the second-round game between the Nos. 8 and 9 seeds. Michigan currently is in eighth place and Illinois in ninth. Maryland beat the Wolverines, 91-65, and the Fighting Illini, 74-54, this season.
More women's college basketball: Malia Tate-DeFreitas scored 24 points to lead host Hampton (15-11, 11-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) to a 69-44 victory over Coppin State (5-20, 4-10). Eagles redshirt freshman Genesis Lucas, the MEAC Rookie of the Week, had 19 points. ... Braennan Farrar led Morgan State with a career- and game-high 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, but it wasn't enough, as the Bears could not hold off host North Carolina A&T in a 67-59 loss. ... Mount St. Mary's (7-10, 5-11 Northeast Conference) trimmed an eight-point deficit to one in the final minute but lost, 48-45 to LIU Brooklyn (9-18, 6-10).
Ravens expected to re-sign safety Miles
Veteran reserve safety Jeromy Miles remains in the Ravens' plans for next season and is expected to be signed to a new contract this offseason, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Miles joined the Ravens as a special-teams ace two seasons ago, but he also played a lot at safety last season. He played in every game, started twice and made a career-high 23 tackles with a fumble recovery and his first career interception. Blake Bortles Miles also had five tackles on special teams and a blocked field goal.
NFL scouting combine: Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson had a solid workout Monday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, running the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds. Johnson (River Hill), who is projected anywhere from the end of the first round to the second round, also had an impressive 40.5-inch vertical leap, a 6.79 three-cone drill and a 10-8 broad jump. The vertical leap ranked second overall among cornerbacks, and he had the second-best 20-yard shuttle at his position, a 3.89 time. Penn State safety Adrian Amos (Calvert Hall) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds. That's the seventh-fastest time at his position. Amos, who has been projected from the third round to the fifth round by draft analysts, had a 35.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-1 broad jump. His 4.03 three-cone drill ranked second among all safeties.Towson cornerback Tye Smith ran the 40-yard dash in 4.60 seconds, a disappointing time. He was fourth among cornerbacks in the 20-yard shuttle with a 3.96 time. He bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times with a 36.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-3 broad jump.
Obituary: Clyde Duncan (Potomac), a former Tennessee receiver and first-round draft pick, died Feb. 16 at his home in Fort Washington. He was 54. Duncan was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals 17th overall in 1984. He played only two seasons in the NFL, both with the Cardinals.
Stevenson men fall to RIT in season opener, 17-10
Stevenson senior Colin Dabney scored four goals while junior Stephen Banick added four assists, but the Mustangs, ranked fourth in Division III, could not stop RIT's extra-man offense, which scored six goals, as the No. 2 Tigers (1-0) posted a 17-10 victory Monday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. Stevenson suffered its first loss in a season opener in 11 years under coach Paul Cantabene. After winning the first three meetings with the Tigers, including the 2013 national championship game, the Mustangs have dropped the past two, both at the Carrier Dome. RIT rallied to win last year's game in overtime, 15-14.
More men: Salisbury, No. 7 in Division III, earned its second win of the season with a 12-2 rout of visiting Widener behind two goals each by Mike Kane, James Burton and Chase Berquist. ... Johns Hopkins faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy was named the Big Ten Specialist of the Week. Hopkins' Shack Stanwick (Boys' Latin) was named the Co-Freshman of the Week. ... Mount St. Mary's has announced a change to the start time of Friday's home game against Towson. Play will begin at 2 p.m. rather than 4 p.m.
Women: No. 2 Syracuse (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) escaped with a 14-13 victory against visiting No. 9 Virginia (1-2, 0-1) in a rematch of a 2014 NCAA semifinal. Virginia junior Kelly Boyd (St. Paul's) contributed a career-high six points, scoring four goals with a pair of assists. Senior Liza Blue (Garrison Forest) added a hat trick. ... No. 20 Denver (2-1) earned a 13-9 victory over host Vanderbilt. Senior Jill Remenapp had two assists for the Pioneers. ... Maryland senior defender Megan Douty was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. ... Navy senior attacker Loren Generi was named Patriot League Corvias Midfield Player of the Week.
Morgan State men lose to N.C. A&T in overtime
Ahmad Abdullah scored 14 points, including two free throws to force overtime, and host North Carolina A&T (7-21, 4-9 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) earned a 60-57 victory over Morgan State (7-21, 5-9) in men's basketball Monday night. Blake Bozeman led the Bears with 25 points.
More men's college basketball: Bowie State's Darrell Brooks was named Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Coach of the Year. His Bulldogs finished the regular season 21-7 and are Northern Division co-champions. ... St. Mary's senior Nicholas LaGuerre (Lansdowne) was named Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week.
College baseball: Maryland's home opener with Virginia Commonwealth, originally scheduled for 4 p.m. today at Shipley Field, has been rescheduled to 4 p.m. Wednesday because of expected cold weather. ... Maryland sophomore right-hander Mike Shawaryn was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. Shortstop Kevin Smith won Freshman of the Week. ... UMES sophomore Jesse Stinnett was named MEAC Pitcher of the Week.
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