COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP)Angel Reese and No. 4 Maryland kicked off the college basketball season in routine fashion.
Reese had 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Terrapins to a 97-67 victory over Longwood on Tuesday. The 11 a.m. game was Maryland’s annual Field Trip Day and included plenty of young kids in the crowd.
”Kind of cool to be the first game of the college season to tip off anywhere in the country,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ”I always love this day game, to have the kids here, definitely the energy for an 11 a.m. tip.”
There were some other women’s games at 11 a.m. EST as well – Dayton beat Alabama A&M 73-52, and UNC Greensboro beat UNC Asheville 52-48 – but Maryland was the first high-profile team to play. The Terrapins (1-0) return all five starters from a season ago, although one of them, guard Diamond Miller, missed this game with knee soreness.
Maryland still had five players in double figures. Freshman Shyanne Sellers scored 17 points and Ashley Owusu and Mimi Collins had 16 apiece.
Kyla McMakin scored 22 points for Longwood.
The Lancers kept the game close for most of the first half. It was 21-all after one quarter, and Maryland led 34-29 before finishing the second quarter with a 13-5 run.
”When you come into a game and a matchup like this, you cannot play afraid,” Longwood coach Rebecca Tillett said. ”As soon as you do, a team like Maryland’s going to sense that, and everything they do will get easier for them.”
Katie Benzan started the second half with two 3-pointers to push the lead to 19, and it was 76-47 after three.
Although Maryland has plenty of experienced talent returning, the Terps got a nice boost from a freshman in the season opener. Sellers went 7-of-12 shooting and played more than anyone on the Terrapins except Reese.
”I thought she was fearless, I thought she was confident, and she belonged. That’s what you need to be able to have, especially with Diamond out now,” Frese said. ”She’s getting some really valuable minutes to kind of build that trust with the coaching staff and your teammates. Obviously very talented – we need her on the floor.”
Benzan scored 11 points and made three of Maryland’s nine 3-pointers.
Longwood: The last time these teams met, in 2011, Maryland won 84-38. The final margin was a little closer this time, and it was actually a 19-point game before the Terrapins closed with a 14-3 run. The Lancers are expected to be one of the better teams in the Big South, and they showed why in the first half.
Maryland: Miller’s absence is a concern for the Terps. They didn’t need her Tuesday, but with a schedule that includes No. 1 South Carolina, No. 3 Stanford, No. 5 North Carolina State and No. 7 Baylor, they’ll want to be as close to full strength as possible.
Longwood also returns five starters from last season, although the Lancers had a freshman in the starting lineup Tuesday in guard Kennedy Calhoun.
”Although we’re veteran, Maryland’s like super veteran this year,” Tillett said.
Tra’dayja Smith was the only other Longwood player in double figures with 11 points. She also had seven assists and seven turnovers.
The 6-foot-3 Reese surpassed her previous career highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds.
”I know if I can’t do anything, I can rebound,” Reese said. ”I’m the biggest one out there, so I’m expected to get rebounds. I think my rebounds helped me get to my baskets.”
Longwood: The Lancers host Stony Brook on Friday.
Maryland: The Terrapins host Villanova on Friday night, beginning a stretch of five games in 10 days.
This version has been corrected to show Maryland’s end-of-half run was 13-5, not 15-5.
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