BALTIMORE — There was no rust on the nation’s top-ranked women’s basketball team. No post-exam hangover, just another basketball clinic.
After an 11-day layoff, Maryland was the model of efficiency, defeating overmatched Loyola 110-55 last night before 2,862 at Reitz Arena.
The Greyhounds became the seventh opponent Maryland has crushed by more than 30 points and the fifth by more than 40 points this season. This was the third time this season that Maryland has eclipsed the century mark in a game.
All five of Maryland’s starters scored in double figures. Forward Marissa Coleman led the way with 21 points.
Maryland’s 110 points match its season high for points in a game. The Terps (13-0) scored 110 points against Mississippi in the championship game of the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas on Nov. 25.
“In my opinion, they’re the best offensive team that I’ve ever seen,” Loyola coach Joe Logan said. “I was an assistant coach at St. Joe’s when we played Connecticut and I told [the Greyhounds] that offensively this is the best team that I’ve ever seen in women’s basketball, and there are some pretty good teams out there.”
Maryland entered last night’s game averaging 85.2 points a game, beating opponents by an average of 30.3 points.
The Terps’ multiple scoring options proved tough for the Greyhounds to overcome. Center Crystal Langhorne (18 points and seven rebounds), forward Laura Harper (11 points and 12 rebounds) and reserve forward/center Jade Perry (15 points and five rebounds) simply overpowered Loyola in the paint.
When Loyola tried to take away the interior, Maryland attacked from the perimeter. Point guard Kristi Toliver shot 3-for-3 from behind the arc in the first half. Toliver, who made four of her first five shots, scored all 11 of her points in the first half.
The Terps led 54-32 at halftime, shooting 65.6 percent (21-for-32). For the game, Maryland shot 61.2 percent.
“I thought we played 40 minutes of inspired basketball,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “I’m just really proud to see that.”
Maryland now has another week off for Christmas before returning to action next weekend when it stages the Terrapin Classic at Comcast Center with a field that features Liberty, Marist, and UNC Greensboro. Barring a monumental upset in the two-day tournament, the Terps should own a 15-0 record when they open ACC play against N.C. State on Jan. 3 at Comcast Center.
Maryland was a huge step up in competition for the Greyhounds (4-6). Until last night, Loyola had played nine games against an assortment of low to mid-majors — Columbia, Drexel, Maryland-Baltimore County, Hartford, Towson, Mount St. Mary’s, Saint Francis (Pa.), Marist, and Rider.
The discrepancy in talent showed itself in the first five minutes. Frese’s team attacked the Greyhounds with extended pressure at the onset, with the Terps quickly building a double-digit lead.
The game marked the debut of Maryland point guard Sa’de Wiley-Gatewood. Wiley-Gatewood, who sat out the past two semesters after transferring from Tennessee, saw her first time in a Maryland uniform with 13:43 in the first half. Wiley-Gatewood showed the pro-Maryland crowd why she was considered one of the top players to ever come out of California.