Halftime: Maryland 44, Utah 28

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It’s looking a lot like Maryland is off to the regional semis for the third time in the last four seasons.

Put simply, the Terrapins have a surplus of talent over ninth-seeded Utah and are unabashedly using it to roll in this NCAA tournament second round game.

The last play of the half was telling: Maryland gets a defensive rebounds, sends an outlet to Kristi Toliver, who in turn pushes the break and zips a perfect pass to Marah Strickland for the layup and a 44-28 lead.

Utah has no answer for that – nor do many teams. There’s no shame in that.

Marissa Coleman has 12 points, and Toliver has 10 as Maryland is a half away from its third 30-win season in the last four years.

A few other nuggets of note:

* For the final 10 minutes of the half, this has been about the ease with which Maryland can score and the difficulty Utah is having getting it inside. The Utes have generally been relegated to jumpers and putbacks. Maryland is slicing to the basket with little trouble, Coleman’s drive with 2:45 left a prime example of that.

* Of course, Maryland can shoot it from outside, too, as Toliver tends to reinforce every time Utah minds the middle a little too much.

* A quick note on Maryland’s efficiency in the middle of the half. The Terps went on a 20-5 run, scoring in 10 out of 12 possessions. More often than not, it didn’t take them that long to score.

* An already short rotation is very tight tonight. Coleman, Toliver and Strickland each played the full half.

* By my count, Brenda Frese made only five substitutions in the entire half.

That about covers the major points. This thing isn’t quite over, but a quick run at the start of the second half will just about finish off the plucky Utes, who got 11 points from Morgan Warburton in the first 20 minutes.

Patrick Stevens

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