Maryland cruises Past Ohio State for fourth victory over a ranked team

College Park, Md.-- Add another check-mark to the Maryland Terrapins' checklist. The way they've been plowing through their grueling schedule makes it seem as if they they are merely completing mundane tasks, rather than competing against upper-echelon women's basketball teams.

Another ranked team, another convincing, double-digit victory for the now 10-0 Terps. This time against the clearly over-matched, No. 19 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-2).

"Very, very convincing win," Terrapins head coach Brenda Frese said of her team's 77-53 triumph. "The best thing was to see how we executed defensively... A special win, especially for the first year of the ACC/Big Ten challenge, and for us to be able to come away with such a convincing win."

Last season, Maryland won its first 18 games, but this year's 10-game stretch may be even more impressive.

The Terps have already beaten Oklahoma, Notre Dame, LSU, and now Ohio State--all ranked teams--and all taken care of with relative ease.

"Our swag, our confidence," Frese attributed to her team's hot start this season. "We're playing for each other and looking for each other on the floor. Just the unselfishness we're displaying."

The Terps have been able to be so unselfish because of the quality of their starting lineup. Every night a different player seems to step up and carry the offense.

Tonight it was senior forward Crystal Langhorne who, still not at 100-percent from a foot injury, led the way with 17 points. But it was a balanced effort from the Terps, as they had six players with eight or more points.

Maryland kicked off the game with an 18-4 run, and never looked back. Ohio State was unable to make a push to even make the game interesting. Marscilla Packer, who leads the Buckeyes in scoring this season shot 2-of-11 from the floor, scoring just six points total.

"We're not going to win a lot of basketball games with Marscilla shooting like that," Buckeyes head coach Jim Foster said. "She's been out there a couple years, and the best defender on the other team was on Brandi Hoskins. Now the best defender on the other team is on her, and she's a target."

That "best defender" was Marissa Coleman, who Frese praised after the game for her defense.

"When Marissa puts her mind to it, she can be the best, dominant player on the floor, offensively and defensively," Frese said. "To hold [Packer] scoreless in the first half... just thought we did a tremendous job being able to defend her, and that started with Marissa and her energy and focus on the defensive end."

The Terps once again put together a complete game, both offensively and defensively, and needed little effort to fend off the Buckeyes in the second half. Once the Terps' lead was built, they padded and protected it.

"It's great exposure for our team, especially being the ACC/Big Ten challenge to show how dominant our conference is and just to send a message out to a lot of people," Langhorne said.

Consider that message received. The Terps have been on a mission to prove that last year's second-round exit in the NCAA tournament was just a fluke, and they have done that so far by beating some of the nation's best teams and reaching 10 wins before anybody else.

Still, the Terps like to play the disrespect card, because that card worked so well for them two years ago when they captured the first national championship in program history.

"It's very similar to the year that we won it," Coleman said. "Nobody's really talking about Maryland. Everybody's talking about Connecticut and Tennessee and the rest of the country. It's just more motivation for us to go out there and play as hard as we can, and try to dominate those opponents that we do play."

The Terps travel to Piscataway Monday to play No. 5 Rutgers, and if they play like they have been playing, and earn another victory against another highly-ranked team, people will certainly be talking about Maryland.

Whether Coleman and the Terps like it or not.

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