Tianna Hawkins helps No. 23 Maryland cruise past UMBC

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Eager to take advantage of a roster that contains eight players over six feet, Maryland coach Brenda Frese unveiled a new, taller lineup against Maryland-Baltimore County.

The switch paid immediate dividends for the Terrapins (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 22 AP) .

Maryland scored the game's first 15 points, built the margin to 24 at halftime and cruised to a 71-45 victory Friday night.

It was the eighth straight victory for the Terrapins (9-1), who improved to 10-0 in the crosstown series that began in 1987.

Frese's revised starting lineup consisted of three forwards, center Lynetta Kizer and only one guard, Anjale Barrett. Sophomore Tianna Hawkins, a 6-3 sophomore, scored 16 points in her first start of the season.

"I just felt like with the play of our bigs right now, we needed to find them more minutes," Frese said. "We were able to use our advantage with our size, our rebounding, our strength inside."

Hawkins went 7 for 10 from the floor, made both her free throws and grabbed five rebounds. She earned a starting spot after scoring 17 points in 18 minutes during Maryland's previous game, against Loyola (Md.).

"Tianna has been one of our most consistent post players from the start of the season," Frese said. "It's a reward for how hard she's been working, and it makes us a better team."

Erin Brown scored 14 and Tope' Obajolu had 10 points for UMBC (4-6). The Retrievers had seven turnovers and missed five shots before Obajolu made their first field goal on a jumper in the lane with 11:44 left in the first half to make it 19-4.

"I thought we really came out early with that knockout punch," Frese said. "We were ready to play. I thought we had great energy and intensity."

And a whole lot of height.

"They're a big, physical, strong team and we're kind of the opposite of that," UMBC coach Phil Stern said. "I certainly wish we got off to a better start."

Stern took some consolation in the fact that UMBC was outscored only 31-29 after halftime.

"We pride ourselves on running good offense, and in the second half we ran some good back cuts and got some good looks at the basket," he said. "We told our kids if we can do that against Maryland, we can do that against anybody."

Anjale Barrett had 12 points and Alyssa Thomas added 10 for the Terrapins, who led 40-16 at halftime and 61-35 with seven minutes left.

The Terrapins have exams next week and won't play again until Dec. 19 at Delaware State. But they will take some momentum into the break.

"We have confidence now, and with all this practice time, it just gives us enough time to get better," Barrett said.