Top-seeded Maryland beats New Mexico St 75-57 in 1st round
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Following his futile attempt to stop Maryland center Brionna Jones from using her size and weight to dominate both ends of the court, New Mexico State coach Mark Trakh found it easy to explain what went wrong.
''It was like PT boats trying to attack a battleship out there,'' Trakh said. ''We were bouncing off right and left.''
Jones had 22 points and 12 rebounds as top-seeded Maryland cruised to a 75-57 victory Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA women's tournament.
The Terrapins (31-2) will bring a school-record 25-game winning streak into Monday night's matchup against eighth-seeded Princeton (31-0). The Ivy League champions advanced earlier Saturday by defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay 80-70 with President Barack Obama in attendance.
Obama's niece plays for Princeton, and his bracket has the Tigers defeating Maryland to advance to the Sweet 16.
If the President stayed to watch the second game, he would probably concede that Jones and the Terrapins appear tough to beat. The 6-foot-3 Jones was bigger and stronger than any one player the 16th-seeded Aggies assigned to cover her, and a collapsing zone defense did little to slow her down.
''My teammates got me the ball when I was open, and I just worked hard to stay open against the zone,'' Jones said.
Jones went seven for 10 from the floor and eight for nine at the line, finishing just two points short of matching her career high in points. She was pulled with 5:50 left.
Brianna Freeman scored 15 and Sasha Weber added 14 for the Aggies (22-8), who were making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1988. The Western Athletic Conference champions were outrebounded 45-20 and went 5 for 21 from 3-point range.
''If we could have knocked down a few more of those open shots,''Trakh said, ''it might have been a closer game.''
Senior guard Laurin Mincy scored 19 for the Terrapins, who haven't lost since Dec. 3. Maryland went ahead for good at 7-6 and led by 20 with 12 minutes left.
After the Aggies turned their focus to stopping Jones in the second half, the Terrapins looked to their guards for offense. Mincy scored 13 points after halftime, sinking four of her five field-goal attempts.
''We did a good job sharing the ball,'' Jones said.
Jones had 16 points in the first half to stake the Terrapins to a 42-32 lead. Her eight rebounds over the first 20 minutes matched New Mexico State's total during that span.
Jones scored 11 of Maryland's first 15 points, and the Terrapins used a 7-0 spurt to go up 22-12. It was 27-18 before Jones collected a rebound under her own basket and put back a layup to start a three-point play.
It was more of the same in the second half, even though the Aggies packed the paint when Maryland had the ball. Undaunted, Jones made two free throws shortly after halftime, added a short jumper for a 48-36 lead and sank two more at the foul line to make it 53-38 with just over 14 minutes to go.
Jones was removed a minute later after being called for her third foul, but by then the Terrapins had the game well in hand.
New Mexico State: New Mexico State is 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament, losing previously in the first round in 1987 and 1988. The Aggies looked at this season, and this game, as the first step toward greatness.
''Maybe next year we'll get an 11 or 12 (seed),'' Trakh said. ''Our goal is to come back next year and win a NCAA Tournament game.''
Maryland: The Terps know they have to protect the ball better against a strong Princeton defense on Monday.
''You can't have 20 turnovers against Princeton,'' coach Brenda Frese said. ''You've got to be able to value possessions.''
New Mexico State: The Aggies lose only one player from the current roster, seldom-used senior Jasmine Rutledge. ... NMS came in averaging 11 steals a game and got 13 against the Terps, including four apiece by Shanice Davis and Moriah Mack.
Maryland: The Terrapins improved to 26-9 in the NCAA Tournament under Frese, including 13-2 in games at home. ... Maryland's previous longest winning streak, 24 in a row, bridged the 2005-06 championship season and the following campaign. ... The Terrapins have won at least one postseason game (NCAA or WNIT) in each of the last 11 years. ... Maryland is now 28-0 when leading at halftime.
New Mexico State's season is over.
Maryland looks to go 17-0 at home on Monday against Princeton.