By Chris Tulp
Even on a simple shot like a made free throw, the Xfinity Center filled with high-pitched screams and cheers.
The Terps held their fourth annual “Field Trip Day” for approximately 5,000 elementary and middle school students. Every made basket from the Terps incited a reaction from the students.
“The energy was awesome,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “We love having this kind of game for our kids and introducing them to our team, our program and our university.”
Redshirt senior guard Ieshia Small also commented about having such an enthusiastic crowd.
“I know that because it’s my senior year, I was just taking advantage of the moment because I’m probably not going to have a game like that again in my life,” Small said. “Sometimes we had to yell louder than we normally do because you can’t really hear because you just hear them screaming for ice cream… I loved seeing the kids and they put a smile on my face.”
Sophomore forward Stephanie Jones and Small led the way for the Terps as they both scored career highs, with 21 points and 18 points. Senior guard Kristen Confroy also chipped in on defense, setting a career high with five steals.
Niagara University got a layup from the opening tip-off, but that was its only lead of the game. The Purple Eagles managed to hang around for some of the first quarter until the Terps went on a 10-3 run to close out the period and lead 25-17 en route to their 92-65 win.
The Terps were only up by six, 42-36, at halftime, as Niagara had early success scoring the ball down low. Frese addressed that with the team in the locker room at halftime.
“At halftime, coach ‘B’ challenged us as post players to be able to go out and defend and just play hard and play with energy,” Jones said.
Frese’s motivation at halftime must have worked because the Terps came out and shot 83.3 percent from the field in the third quarter. Three players reached double figure scoring after the quarter: sophomore guards Kaila Charles and Blair Watson, as well as Small.
When it was all said and done, the Terps had five players who scored in double figures, the second time the team has accomplished the feat this year. Jones and junior forward Brianna Fraser joined Charles, Watson and Small.
“It just shows that we need everybody to be a part of the team win,” Charles said. “To be successful, everybody has to be ready when their number is called, so it’s good to have multiple people in double digits.”