No. 11 Maryland cruises past Loyola, Md, 84-46
Two minutes into Maryland's season opener, Alyssa Thomas scored six points and no one else on the court had put the ball in the basket.
Thomas had 14 points in 14 minutes by halftime, and she finished with 20 points to lead the 11th-ranked Terrapins to an 84-46 victory over in-state foe Loyola on Friday night.
After being named the Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year as a freshman last season, Thomas has assumed a leadership role on a team with only three seniors.
''Alyssa set the tone from the tip. That's what you expect your leader, your best player, to come out and show that consistency,'' Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ''I thought we absolutely rode Alyssa in the first half until everybody could settle down.''
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 sophomore forward, went 5 for 9 with four free throws to stake the Terrapins to a 40-25 lead. The gap widened to 21 points with 17:43 left, and it was 66-36 with 9:41 to go.
Thomas also contributed seven rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes.
''I wanted to set an example and bring energy to get us going out there,'' she said.
Freshman Brene Moseley scored 17 and Laurin Mincy added 11 for the Terrapins (1-0), who have won 12 straight over Loyola and lead the series 18-3. Maryland next faces No. 10 Georgetown on Sunday in a rematch of an NCAA tournament game last season won by the Hoyas.
''I thought we did some really nice things in terms of our fast break to be able to be in attack mentality,'' Frese said. ''That will prepare us for Sunday.''
Katie Sheahin led the Greyhounds (0-1) with 13 points. Loyola went 21-13 last season and won a game in the WNIT, the first postseason victory in the history of the program.
But the Greyhounds don't have the height or depth of the Terrapins. Maryland won easily despite playing without 6-4 senior center Lynetta Kiser, who has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules.
Frese gave no indication that the suspension would end before Sunday.
With Thomas leading the way, Maryland raced to an 8-0 lead. The Greyhounds committed turnovers on their first four possessions but closed to 8-7 before Mincy hit a baseline jumper and two foul shots to spark an 11-0 run.
That made it 19-7, and the Terrapins never let the margin shrink below double figures the rest of the way.