Lynetta Kizer scores career-high 25 as Maryland blisters Saint Joseph's

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Lynetta Kizer didn't waste much time getting back into a groove for No. 8 Maryland.

Playing in her second game since returning from a suspension, Kizer scored a career-high 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds to help the Terrapins defeat Saint Joseph's 94-71 on Tuesday night.

After missing Maryland's first three games for violating team rules, Kizer scored 12 in her debut Saturday against Maryland-Baltimore County. The 6-foot-4 senior surpassed that total by halftime against Saint Joseph's and finished with more points than minutes played (24).

"Tremendous," Terps coach Brenda Frese said. "I love how she's approached everything. Real vocal, a ton of energy for us and obviously big play tonight that we had to have to be successful."

It was apparent that Kizer likes playing much more than watching.

"I just want to go out and play hard for my team," she said. "It definitely feels good to be back. The girls worked so hard the first couple games, so I'm going to play my hardest for them."

Kizer had plenty of help. Alyssa Thomas scored 21, Tianna Hawkins contributed 17 points and 12 rebounds and Laura Mincy had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins (5-0), who have won all their games by double figures.

"Extremely balanced," Frese said.

Maryland led by 16 at halftime and cruised to the finish in defeating the Hawks for the 10th straight time.

"I wasn't surprised at how well Maryland was going to play," Saint Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin said. "Obviously Kizer coming back is a big difference for them. She was tough to guard."

Erin Shields led Saint Joseph's (2-3) with 16 points, Ashley Prim had 15 and Katie Kuester 13. The Hawks committed only four turnovers but shot 35 percent from the field and were outrebounded 58-25.

After Saint Joseph's closed to 58-47, Kizer made two free throws, Whitney Bays scored in the lane and Kizer added a foul shot for a 63-47 lead with 11 minutes left. That was enough to assure the Terrapins their 85th win in 90 non-league games at Comcast Center.

"You've got to use your non-conference play to get you prepared for conference play," Frese said. "I like that St. Joe's never quit tonight. We have to continue to sustain a 40-minute game where we don't have any drop-offs. That's what we're building toward."

Maryland won despite playing the final 25 minutes without starting guard Anjale Barrett, who left in the first half with a knee injury.

"She's fine," Frese said. "We just wanted to be smart. It was a bone-on-bone thing with her knee."

The Hawks went 1 for 8 from the field at the outset, and Maryland took advantage by taking a 12-3 lead. Minutes later, however, successive baskets by Shields capped a 10-4 spurt that got Saint Joseph's to 21-18.

It was 28-23 before Kizer hit a 3-pointer and Thomas added a layup and two foul shots to spark a 14-4 run that expanded the margin to 15. The Hawks got within 11 shortly before halftime, but Thomas scored on a drive and Kizer made a free throw and a follow-shot to give the Terrapins a 49-33 lead at the break.