COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) The Maryland Terrapins may get as far as their bench takes them.
Tierney Pfirman scored 16 points and had 11 rebounds, contributing to No. 10 Maryland’s 58 bench points in a 109-45 victory Friday over Mount St. Mary’s in the season opener for both teams.
Reserve Kiara Leslie also scored 16 points in her freshman debut for the Terps, who had seven players in double figures and surpassed 100 points in an opener for the first time since 2005.
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”What I liked is that every player that came off the bench was ready to play,” said Maryland coach Brenda Frese, who used all 11 available players by late in the first half. ”It didn’t take them two or three minutes to get into the action.”
Jacqueline Brewer scored 12 points for the Mountaineers, who fell to 0-6 against Maryland.
Without four starters from the team that made the school’s first WNIT appearance last season, Mount St. Mary’s was held to 29 percent shooting and had 29 turnovers.
”We’re still looking for an identity, we’re still looking for leadership,” said coach Bryan Whitten. ”Once we have leadership in the direction we’re going to go in … then I think we have a chance to grow and improve.”
The Terps had17 steals in their first game in the Big Ten program. Conference coaches and media polls have tabbed Maryland as favorites this season despite the departure of the Alyssa Thomas, the career scoring and rebounding leader.
Pfirman did her best Thomas impression with her second career double-double in just 17 minutes.
”Just to go out there and get my first offensive rebound and putback was a pretty big motivator,” Pfirman said. ”So I figured, since I got the first one, why not get 10 more?”
Without Thomas, now in the WNBA, Frese still has considerable depth with time for it to jell. Maryland plays No. 3 Notre Dame on Dec. 3 in its only game against a ranked opponent before conference competition.
Frese emptied her bench by the 6:56 mark of the first half. Maryland scored the first nine points, quickly built a double-digit lead and entered halftime ahead 57-25.
The game started at 11 a.m., allowing 2,000 area elementary school students to attend. Frese’s twin 6-year-old boys, who know the Xfinity Center well, were among them.
”We had numerous conversations this week that they weren’t going to be able to leave their seat,” Frese said. ”That was a different element for them.”
Maryland: A’Lexus Harrison sat out with a foot injury sustained in the team’s final exhibition game Saturday.
Mount St. Mary’s: The Mountaineers lost all 10 of their meetings against Top 25 opposition. They came closest to an upset with a 65-55 loss to No. 15 Virginia in 2008.
Maryland welcomes Wagner Sunday in the second of three home games to open the season.
The Mountaineers continue a four-game trip on Tuesday at Fordham.