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Preview: No. 4 Maryland and No. 8 South Carolina square off in early-season test

The two teams have split their last two meetings. A lot of talented freshmen will get their chance to make their mark while a few seniors get to show the country how good they can be.

James Madison v Maryland
Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year Kaila Charles looks to lead the Maryland Terrapins to a statement win over South Carolina.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The No. 4 Maryland Terrapins welcome the No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks in an early season matchup of top tier teams. Maryland handled their opening opponent, Wagner, with ease, 113-56. South Carolina, likewise, had no issue with Alabama State, 103-43. An early season Top 10 matchup? Let’s do this.

Dominant openers

The Terrapins may start three underclassmen, but they are a dangerous team. Freshman guard Ashley Owusu scored 18 points and added nine assists in her collegiate debut. Owusu’s counterpart, Diamond Miller, did not have the best scoring night with just seven points, but she contributed seven assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Taylor Mikesell, who set the Maryland season record for most made three-point shots last season as a freshman, picked up where she left off, shooting 4-of-6 from deep. The preseason Big Ten Player of Year also happens to play for Maryland; Kaila Charles scored 18 points in the win.

South Carolina was able to get everyone involved in their season opening victory, as all eligible players scored at least four points, with six players getting into double figures. The Gamecocks started three freshmen, with Aliyah Boston making a big statement with a triple-double of 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks in just 21 minutes of play. The starts for these three are significant for the program, as only three players had started their first game as freshmen under Coach Dawn Staley: A’ja Wilson (2014-15), Tiffany Mitchell (2012-13) and Kelsey Bone (2009-10). A fourth freshman, Olivia Thompson, scored 10 points in just seven minutes of play.

The lone seniors on the squad, Tyasha Harris and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, scored 11 and 13 points, respectively. Herbert Harrigan scored 10 of her 13 points in an impressive third-quarter performance against the Hornets.

How they match up

The Terrapins and the Gamecocks meet for the fourth time in history and for the third straight year, with Maryland holding the edge 2-1 historically and the most recent victory, 85-61. This game features 7 players who played in the two matchups, Maryland with four players and South Carolina with three players. Kaila Charles has averaged 24 points in the two contests and fellow starting senior Stephanie Jones has averaged 12.5 points.

For South Carolina, Tyasha Harris has averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 assists in those outings, while Mikiah Herbert Harrigan notched 9.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Another player who could play a role is junior LeLe Grissett. Grissett played sparingly in the prior matchups, scoring a combined six points, but played a larger role in the Gamecocks’ season opener. She played 22 minutes, scoring 10 points, and added seven rebounds, five of which extended offensive possessions for South Carolina.

Maryland can kill teams from the beyond the arc and how South Carolina defends it will play a large role in who wins the game. In last year’s matchup, the story was the defensive intensity of the Terps as they held the Gamecocks to 33.3 percent shooting. South Carolina fans can rest assured that a 1-for-21 three-point shooting performance is unlikely to occur as it did last year. This is a big test for both teams as the the whole country gets to watch how these very talented, well-coached, but relatively inexperienced teams face off on the big stage.

Game information

No. 4 Maryland Terrapins vs No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks

When: Sunday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. ET

Where: XFINITY Center, College Park, MD

How to watch: ESPN