- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008

It’s hard to find fault with a basketball team that has just two losses in mid-February. But for the Maryland women, lack of depth has been a concern.

The No. 4 Terrapins shrugged off some of those questions last night as they routed Boston College 78-51 at Comcast Center. The Terps (26-2, 10-1 ACC) have relied heavily on their top four scorers: juniors Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman and seniors Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper. But last night Maryland’s secondary options got into the act.

Freshman guard Marah Strickland shot 6-for-8 from the floor and made all five of her 3-point attempts en route to a career-high 20 points. Reserve guard Ashleigh Newman also asserted herself despite missing practice with the flu this week, shooting 6-for-12 from the floor and finishing with 15 points.

“I was joking on the bench that she needs to be sick more often,” coach Brenda Frese said. “She gave us a great boost of energy tonight. It’s great to be able to see Ashleigh back in that form.”

That was significantly greater production than the two have typically offered this season. Strickland entered the game averaging 8.8 points and Newman just 3.1. This was a pleasant sight for Frese, who has been looking for opportunities to rest her four stars. Because the Terps led by at least 20 points throughout most of the second half, Frese was able to sit them for most of the final 10 minutes.

“We need to be able to continue to build that depth and have that spark,” Frese said. “To be a successful team, we need everyone.”

Boston College (17-8, 5-5) ran double-teams at Langhorne and Harper, and the two post players effectively found open teammates on the perimeter. With crisp passing through and around the Eagles’ defense, Strickland and the Terps’ shooters got open looks consistently. She and Newman combined for eight of Maryland’s 11 3-pointers.

“The ball was moving so well today,” Strickland said. “Everybody was being so unselfish. It was just great ball movement.”

BC opened the game with a 7-2 run. But behind a barrage of 3-pointers, the Terps outscored the Eagles 26-9 over the next 8:39 to take control. By halftime, their lead ballooned to 45-28.

The Terps also had a better defensive showing than in recent games. They held Eagles star freshman center Carolyn Swords to just 10 points compared with 28 when the teams met Jan. 10 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Maryland also didn’t commit a foul in the second half.

“Our defensive intensity transferred to our offense, and that’s really what we’re looking for,” Frese said.

With a block early in the first half, Harper became Maryland’s all-time leader, moving past Kris Kirchner. She now has 187 for her career.

“It’s an honor to set a record here at Maryland, with the caliber of players that come here,” Harper said.

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