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Maryland played defense-dominant, unselfish basketball at Daytona Beach Invitational

The No. 9 Maryland Terrapins held their two opponents to 70 points combined and shared the basketball in a huge blowout win over Belmont.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 23 Div I Women’s Championship - First Round - Team v Team
Shakira Austin led Maryland with a team-high eight steals over two games at the Daytona Beach Invitational.
Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

At the Daytona Beach Invitational over Thanksgiving weekend, the No. 9 Maryland Terrapins (7-1) not only held the Clemson Tigers to 44 points on Friday, Nov. 29, but added a 64-point margin of victory in a 90-26 win against the Belmont Bruins on Saturday.

Maryland held the Bruins to three points in both the first and third quarters and entered the fourth on a 28-0 run, which the Terrapins eventually extended to 42-0. The 26 points the Terps gave up is the least they’ve given up since 2014. Preseason All-American Kaila Charles’ season-high 20 points and freshman Ashley Owusu’s first career double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds led the way.

The Terps ran away with the game by applying pressure defense and scoring points off turnovers (39). Diamond Miller and Stephanie Jones helped on offense, tallying 12 points and 11 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, Blair Watson’s long-distance shot was on fire throughout the tournament. She finished 8-of-14 from beyond the arc in the two games combined.

Also notable was that sharpshooter Taylor Mikesell went 1-of-9 from the field, scoring four points against Clemson, and recognized that she didn’t have the hot hand. Against Belmont, she played a team-high 31 minutes with more assists (four) than attempted shots (three). Unselfishness defined Maryland’s play in the tournament — it was Watson (19 points) and Shakira Austin (17 points) leading the way in the first game and Charles and Owusu carrying the scoring load in the second.

The Terappins currently have four players averaging double-digit scoring (Owusu, Austin, Charles and Mikesell), which isn’t rare. But having three additional players (Jones, Watson and Miller) averaging over nine points per game is. Maryland has the 11th best scoring offense in the nation and now its defense is catching up.

Against Clemson, Maryland had some offensive struggles, but forced 16 turnovers in the first half and 29 total en route to the 63-44 win.

Other results

Here’s how the other teams in the tournament fared:

Georgia Bulldogs (2-0 in tournament, 6-2 overall) — On Saturday, Gabby Connally contributed 22 points to a 77-72 win over Virginia Tech, making Georgia the only team other than Maryland to go undefeated in the tournament.

Virginia Tech (1-1 in tournament, 6-1 overall) — The Hokies received 18 points and seven rebounds from Aisha Sheppard in Game One and Dara Mabrey had 24 points in defeat on Saturday.

Ohio Bobcats (1-1 in tournament, 5-2 overall) — The Bobcats defeated Pitt 72-50 on Friday with 17 points and six rebounds coming from Gabby Burris. They lost to Butler 60-55 on Saturday despite Amani Burke’s 30 points.

Butler Bulldogs (1-1 in tournament, 5-2 overall) — The Bulldogs shot just 17.4 percent from the field with no players in double-figure scoring against Georgia before redeeming themselves on Saturday.

Ole Miss Rebels (1-1 in tournament, 5-3 overall) — Dominque Banks scored 15 points and hauled in 14 rebounds for the Rebels in a Game One win over Alcorn State. Teammate Valerie Nesbitt led the team in scoring in both of the team’s games with 20 points and 14 points, respectively.

Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1 in tournament, 3-4 overall) — Rita Igbokwe pulled down 18 rebounds in the Panthers’ loss to Ohio, while Aysia Bugg scored a game-high 20 points in a Saturday win over Ole Miss.

Clemson Tigers (1-1 in tournament, 3-5 overall) — Amari Robison led the Tigers with 14 points in the loss to Maryland, while Kaylee Sticker was good for 16 in the team’s 77-46 win over Alcorn State.

Belmont Bruins (0-2 in tournament, 3-4 overall) — The Bruins lost a close one (60-58) to Virginia Tech on Friday despite Ellie Harmeyer’s 10 points and 10 assists.

Alcorn State Lady Braves (0-2 in tournament, 3-6 overall) — Jada Hargrove and Toddriana Isler both notched 17 points in the Lady Braves’ Friday loss to Ole Miss.