STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Maryland led Sacred Heart from the
opening tip, dominated the paint and had too much talent for the
Just what you'd expect from a No. 2 seed in the first round of
the NCAA Tournament.
The Terrapins, bypassed for a top seed when the tournament
matchups were announced last week despite a No. 3 national ranking,
pulled away in the second half of a 95-54 rout of 15th-seeded
Sacred Heart on Sunday.
"Yeah, they're a national contender. I mean, there's not many
weaknesses on there," Sacred Heart coach Ed Swanson said. "They
play like a hungry team."
Jade Perry led Maryland with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Laura
Harper added 16 points and 13 boards. The Terps outrebounded the
Pioneers 57-26, and outscored Sacred Heart in the paint 56-14.
"We wanted to come out and bring some energy on the defensive
end by coming out in the press," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said.
"We were able to get some turnovers early. We also had the size
Maryland was so dominant that even seldom-used reserves like
Angel Ross, who had seen action in just 12 games coming into the
contest, played eight minutes.
"Obviously to get that kind of quality rest is huge, especially
with the turnaround," Frese said.
The Terps will face St. John's, seeded seventh in the
Albuquerque Region, in the second round on Tuesday.
Maryland has had an impressive run already this year, defeating
top-ranked North Carolina and No. 4 Duke. But the Terps had to
settle for a No. 2 seed for the tourney, something that Frese
expressed some displeasure about after the brackets were announced
The Terps have stuck with a "happy-to-be-here" attitude while
in State College. On Sunday, they let their play do the talking.
"It definitely gets us in the flow," guard Kristi Toliver
said. "We got that first day out of the way and we are ready to
keep moving on."
The loss ended Sacred Heart's 10-game winning streak. After
winning the Northeast Conference to secure the school's first NCAA
Tournament bid, Swanson knew his team would be decided underdogs
Swanson will still go home a happy man anyway after his wife
gave birth last week to the couple's first child -- 6-pound, 1-ounce
Connor John Swanson -- the day after he found out that his team
would be playing the Terps.
Amanda Pape, the Northeast Conference's player of the year, led
Sacred Heart with 16 points but shot just 5-of-16 from the field.
Pape hit a one-handed 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer
expired that got the Pioneers to within 47-33, pumping her fist and
slapping a low-five with teammate as they headed to the locker room
with big grins.
The pesky Pioneers had whittled down a 20-point lead to the
14-point halftime deficit, raising hopes among their vocal
contingent of fans who shouted "S-H-U!" during the game.
Toliver ended any thoughts of a second-half comeback after
hitting a 3-pointer to start the half. Shay Doron hit an acrobatic
layup, falling down as the ball swished through the net with 14:22
left to give the Terps a 66-35 lead.
"I tell the kids all the time not to look up at the scoreboard,
just to compete and play," Swanson said. "I don't think the score
is indicative of how we played or how we competed."
Doron added 17 points for Maryland, while Nicole Rubino had 10
points for Sacred Heart.