TAMPA, Fla. – The sixth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team fought through foul trouble and early shooting woes as its newcomers and players returning from injuries led it to a 78-70 season-opening win at South Florida Friday.
Redshirt junior Laurin Mincy scored 15 points in her return from an ACL tear early last season. Freshman Shatori-Walker Kimbrough added 12 points and fellow freshman Lexie Brown added 11 and six assists. Redshirt sophomore Brene Moseley, also coming off a knee injury, made free throws down the stretch to finish with 10 points.
All five of the Terrapins’ starters fought through foul trouble. They combined for 14 points as they battled early adversity, but the Terps’ reserves stepped to the plate.
“USF is a really good team,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “Obviously, we were able to show our depth. I thought our young kids were fantastic, maybe youthful bliss of not knowing what to expect. I thought they came in and they were bigtime. Our bench depth was a big reason for our success. Just two great teams – we knew it would be tough coming in here. They made a ton of runs at us and I thought we were able to keep our composure and make plays down the stretch.
Maryland used a late 15-2 surge to take a 43-28 halftime lead. The Terrapins shot just 38 percent from the field in the first half and racked up 15 team fouls.
USF rallied in the second half and pulled to 72-68 when Inga Orekhova made two free throws with 40.3 seconds remaining. Alyssa Thomas responded by making a pair free throws 20 seconds later.
As a team, Maryland shot over 82 percent (23-28) from the foul line for the game. Moseley was 8-8 from the line.
Courtney Williams had 21 points for South Forida, and Orekhova, who averaged 12.7 points last season, finished with two points.
Thomas was named to the Associated Press’s Preseason All-American Team Tuesday. Thomas was named an Associated Press All-American after both her sophomore and junior seasons. She was voted Preseason ACC Player of the Year by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and the league’s 15 head coaches last month. Brown was named to the Coaches’ ACC Newcomer Watch List.
In 2012-13, Thomas led the ACC in points (18.0 per game), rebounds (10.3 per game) and assists (5.3 per game). She is the only player in NCAA or WNBA history to average over 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for a season. Thomas is currently No. 6 on Maryland’s all-time scoring list and needs 553 points to surpass Crystal Langhorne’s record of 2,247 points scored.
The Terps will welcome Loyola in their home opener Sunday at 2 p.m. After the game, all fans are invited to stay for the Meet the Team event in the arena. Live updates will be available at https://twitter.com/umdwbb. Live stats will be available as well and the game can be seen live online for a fee through umterps.com.
The Terrapins will host defending national champion Connecticut Friday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. For tickets, log on to UMTerps.com or call 1-800-IM-A-TERP.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.