COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Top-ranked Maryland unfurled its
national championship banner, then staged an impressive performance
reminiscent of its play a year ago.
Kristi Toliver and Ashleigh Newman each scored 16 points, and
the Terrapins rolled to a 99-43 rout of George Mason on Sunday.
Toliver had 10 points during a 22-0 run that put Maryland (2-0)
up 43-15 in the first half. The margin swelled to 40 points with
13:34 left, and 50 with 7:14 to go.
Crystal Langhorne scored 14 points and Shay Doron and Christie
Marrone had 12 apiece for the Terrapins.
"The most encouraging thing is how unselfish we were with the
ball, offensively, and then being able to focus defensively on what
we needed to get done," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
That was the Terrapins' method of operation last season, when
they used a balanced attack to go 34-4 and beat Duke in the NCAA
Maryland shot 66 percent in the first half and went 6-for-10
from 3-point range in building a 50-20 lead. The blowout was a
sharp contrast to the Terrapins' opener two days earlier, an 80-76
struggle at Middle Tennessee.
Lateisha Wade scored 15 for the Patriots (0-1), who failed to
make a basket over the final 10 minutes of the first half.
"Obviously, Maryland was the national champion last year for a
reason," Mason coach Debbie Taneyhill said. "They're going to win
a lot of games this year."
The afternoon began with a video tribute to the women's first
national championship team. At the same time, still images were
displayed on long white curtains that extended from the scoreboard
to the center of the floor.
Then the curtains dropped, revealing the 12-foot white banner
that ultimately will hang from the rafters, directly across from
the red banner from the men's national title in 2002.
"Obviously, it was a very special day for us in terms of being
able to unveil the banner and being able to share that moment with
our family, friends and supporters," Frese said.
Before the Terps came out to the floor, Frese gathered them to
stress the significance of the event.
"I told the team to really reflect on that moment," Frese
said. "That banner means so much, in terms of the hard work the
players put into it. They were so unselfish and cared about each
other. That's the team we want to be this year."
Maryland returns all five starters from last season's squad.
Although the Terrapins were pressed on the road in the opener,
their talent and depth were evident against the Patriots.
Maryland made nine of its first 12 shots and received points
from five different players in taking a 21-12 lead. Langhorne was
3-for-3, including two straight layups at the outset that put the
Terrapins ahead to stay.
After the Patriots closed to 21-15, Doron hit a 3-pointer and
scored off her own steal to begin the 22-point blitz that put
Maryland in control. Toliver then connected from beyond the arc,
sank a 10-footer and buried another 3-pointer.