Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
College Park, MD–
For most basketball teams, both men’s and women’s, the first few months of the season are what we refer to as “tune-up” games for the regular conference season games, well that’s not what Maryland Head Coach Brenda Frese had planned as she scheduled defending National Champions South Carolina in the first part few games of the season.
Coming into tonight’s game, the Terps who were a strong underdog as the 15th ranked team with a younger team than Frese has had in previous seasons, definitely made the a classic match-up in the second half, but falling just short at the end, 94-86.
The Gamecocks who just had one of their top players, A’ja Wilson, named ESPN W Preseason Player of the Year, who some call the next Lisa Leslie, gave the Terps all they could handle, but just as Frese has done in previous seasons, her coaching deep in the game gave the Gamecocks trouble and allowed the Terps who trailed the entire game, to battle back in the fourth quarter.
With Wilson’s dominance and the Terps’ porous defense — South Carolina (2-0) had 51 points at halftime — the Gamecocks seemed to default to cruise control for much of the evening before an announced 8,677.
While the Terps may have fallen just short in this game, they got all they needed from Sophomore Kaila Charles with 31 points to keep them in the game and have a go to player emerge early in the season is a good sign for Frese and her squad, who hopes to crack the Top 10 by the time the Big Ten Schedule opens on December 28th.
The Terps will have one more big challenge against the Top ranked UCONN Huskies this Sunday in Harford.
“It’s a great way for our team to build confidence in remainder of the schedule. We have scheduled some of the best opponents early in the season, while some other teams won’t see these types of teams for another couple of months,” said Frese.