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Defense set the tone for Maryland as they run past George Washington

Maryland sophomore center Shakira Austin dominated in every facet of the game, posting 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assist, 4 steals and 4 blocks in a blowout win for the Terps

Wednesday night in College Park, the Maryland Terrapins hosted the George Washington Colonials. The Terrapins took care of business early, setting the tone on the defensive end on their way to an 88-54 victory. Their ball pressure was suffocating on the defensive end, forcing 14 of George Washington's 22 turnovers in the first half, resulting in 22 points. For the game Maryland scored 31 points off of 22 Colonials turnovers, that was the biggest factor in this one.

The Colonials struggled to get comfortable on the offensive end early, shooting just 22% in the opening quarter. Maryland's switch heavy defense was overwhelming for the George Washington, their opponents had an athletic advantage at nearly every position and it was evident on both ends of the floor.

One of the last things any team wants when playing Maryland, especially in the Xfinity Center is for them to get out and run. Live ball turnovers allow the Terps to do that, but they did execute well in the half court when needed. 

Coach Brenda Frese was happy with her team's start to the game and she expressed that when speaking with the media following the game. "I liked how we set the tone early, especially with our defense. On defense we caused about 10 turnovers in that first quarter. I thought we were really locked in" Her team definitely imposed their will on the defensive end of the floor from the opening tip. The complete opposite of the slow start defensively a couple of games ago against James Madison.

George Washington was able to settle down a bit in the second quarter, but they couldn't generate the stops necessary to get back into the game. Coach Jennifer Rizzotti mentioned her team was down a couple of primary ball handlers, but was happy with the way her team eventually settled into the game. "No amount of practice prepares them for game reps" said the head coach when asked about how her team did overall considering the amount of youth on the floor. The Colonials coach also mentioned that her team is still looking for their identity. "We''re still figuring it out. At this point in the season, no one has it all figured out." 

Shakira Austin came out fully engaged on both ends and for the second straight game played with a sense of urgency and aggression. That set the tone and Maryland never looked back.  Austin flirted with a five by five. Finishing just short with four assists, four blocks, and four steals to go along with her 18 points and eight rebounds. The switch has certainly been hit, she's been a different player since the second half of the James Madison game and it's about her stacking consistent outings.

Tori Hyduke led a quartet of Colonials that scored in double figures, she led the way with 12 points. All of her points came from beyond the arc, knocking down four of her six attempts from distance.

Taylor Mikesell had another efficient outing shooting the ball, the addition of Ashley Owusu this year has really allowed her to roam the perimeter. She's continuously running off of screens, getting great catch and shoot opportunities. Tonight was another example of her making the most of those chances. Mikesell was one of five Maryland players to score in double figures against George Washington.

There were a few parts of the game where Maryland had some lapses from an energy standpoint, but it was a solid showing. As for George Washington, there were definitely a few lessons to be taken from this experience. This is the third consecutive year in which these two teams have met in the early part of the season. The Colonials did do a good job of slowing the pace a bit in the second quarter, but couldn't take advantage of it enough. They did do a solid job on the glass though, pulling down 14 offensive rebounds against a program that excels in that department.

Maryland host Quinnipiac on Sunday, George Washington's next game is Sunday when the host Georgetown.

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