College Park, MD -- Among cheers and applause, a new banner sporting the Maryland logo and reading "Final Four 2015" was unfurled Saturday in the XFINITY Center, commemorating the Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team's trip to the Final Four during the 2014-2015 season.
After briefly looking back on their last season, the Terps opened the book on their next, beating UMass Lowell 102-53 in the 2015-2016 regular-season opener.
The River Hawks jumped to an early 3-2 lead after a three-pointer from junior Nicole Hayner, but the Terps responded with a 6-0 run capped by a mid-range jumper from starting center Kiah Gillespie and never looked back.
Full-court pressure and double-teaming from Maryland led to 26 UMass Lowell turnovers throughout the game, which the Terps converted into 31 points. Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, who finished with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting, said that being able to predict the River Hawks' passes came as a result of studying up on the opponent.
"Coming into every game, [Head] Coach [Brenda Frese] preaches that we're the most prepared team," she said after the game. "Knowing their sets and being prepared, knowing their tendencies, knowing the personnel, and just studying it, and just being prepared for the game."
Offensively, the Terps boasted a balanced attack, with five players - Walker-Kimbrough, Gillespie, Brionna Jones, Kiara Leslie and Brene Moseley - finishing with scoring totals in the double digits. Moseley finished with a double-double, tacking on 10 assists to a game-high 24 points, and also led the team with 26 minutes of playing time.
"Brene was ready to play," Frese said. "On the offensive end, she was really good. She got the ball in the right places; she was really aggressive, confident with her shot."
The Terps held UMass Lowell to just 31.7% shooting from the field, but only shot 46.3% themselves, missing multiple layups. In spite of the large-margin victory, there still remain some areas of the game, specifically defense and turnovers, that Frese said "we've got to clean up."
Thankfully for the Terps, they've got a whole season to do that, and the parts of their game that they still need to round out are "all areas that are fixable," according to Frese.
Maryland's next test will be against High Point University on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.