COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Maryland coach Brenda Frese doesn’t mind learning her team is resilient early if they can figure out a way to win.
The No. 9 Terrapins (4-0) beat No. 10 South Carolina 85-61 on Sunday in a game where they fell behind by 12 midway through the first quarter, but led 22-19 by the time the period ended. It was part of a 26-1 run where Maryland scored on 12 of its next 15 possessions
“South Carolina came out with the first punch, but I loved the fact we settled in,” Frese said.
It was a cushion Maryland needed. After Lewis’ 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half put Maryland up 48-26, the Terps turned the ball over nine times in the period.
But South Carolina (2-1) missed all six of its 3-pointers in the quarter and could only knock eight points of Maryland’s lead.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said her team’s problems — they were outrebounded 53-29 by Maryland and made just 1 of 21 3-pointers — are all correctable.
“We’re not very good at this time,” Staley said. “It’s a young season. I’m not fretting it.”
Stephanie Jones scored 18 points, Channise Lewis had 10 points and a career high 12 assists and Kaila Charles scored 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Terps.
Mikiah Herbert Harrigan scored 14 points and Te’a Cooper added 11 for the Gamecocks.
Maryland and South Carolina have been competing off the floor this week too. Both the Gamecocks and the Terrapins have bragged they have signed the top 2019 recruiting class. Maryland signed four players in the ESPN top 50, while South Carolina two signees are in the network’s top 13.
Maryland: This was the kind of win against an elite non-conference team that Maryland hasn’t picked up too much in recent seasons. Maryland showed resilience, roaring back after an awful start. But South Carolina’s pressure caused the Terps guards fits. Lewis came into the third quarter with three turnovers all season. She lost the ball five times in the third quarter Sunday.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks expected growing pains after A’ja Wilson left and was the first pick in the WNBA Draft. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley wants a faster, more outside oriented team. But they have to shoot better than 4.8 percent on 3-pointers to beat anyone.
Maryland’s Shakira Austin scored 10 points and had 16 rebounds, nine of them on the offensive glass. She opened her college career with 12 points and 21 rebounds in a win over Coppin State. The 6-foot-5 forward is averaging 14 rebounds a game.
“Secret? It’s no secret. It’s timing the shot, knowing the angle of which side the ball is coming on,” Austin said. “I was able to get through a lot of box outs today.”
Staley is still being careful with senior Alexis Jennings’ knee. The coach is only playing the Kentucky transfer in spurts. Maryland’s bug run started when she left after starting the game. She played 15 minutes, just one of them in the second half, but still had nine points and four rebounds.
“I wish she could have played more. But we’ve got a long season. This is real early. We need her healthy for later on in the season more than these first few games,” junior guard Te’a Cooper said
South Carolina’s loss means the Gamecocks streak of 89 straight weeks in the AP Top 10 will likely be snapped Monday. But South Carolina should stay in the poll for the 114th straight week — the fifth longest run in the country, just behind what will be Maryland’s 156th straight Top 25 appearance.
Maryland: The Terrapins head off the mainland to take on Morgan State on Friday and No. 14 Georgia on Saturday in the Puerto Rico Clasico.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks open the Vancouver Showcase with East Tennessee State on Thursday. They will play three games in three nights, with possible matchups looming against No. 8 Oregon State and No. 1 Notre Dame.
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