After Maryland women's basketball guard Blair Watson notched a layup under two minutes into the Terps' contest with Albany, she went silent for more than nine minutes, as the team struggled to pull away from its mid-major foe.
Down by two less than a minute into the second period, she knocked down a 3-pointer to put No. 15 Maryland ahead, 17-16. The Terps wouldn't trail again, outscoring the Great Danes 30-4 in the second quarter to take a 26-point advantage into halftime.
Behind Watson's team-high 16 points, Maryland coasted to a 91-58 victory in its season opener at Xfinity Center on Friday.
"The first quarter looked like the first game of the season — a lot of nerves and jitters with our sloppy play and a lot of turnovers," coach Brenda Frese said. "I thought we settled in as a team in the second quarter."
Maryland (1-0) failed to open the contest with conviction, making just three of its first 12 shots from the floor. Combined with several turnovers, the Terps' sloppy performance gave the Great Danes (0-1) an easy inroad to an early 12-8 lead.
With under four minutes left in the first quarter, back-to-back baskets by forward Brianna Fraser leveled the score at 12-12. The teams traded buckets to enter the first break tied, 14-14.
The Terps committed 10 turnovers in the frame, while the Great Danes had nine. Maryland finished with 21 turnovers, a number Frese wants the team to reduce moving forward.
"You can't have 21 turnovers," Frese said. "In a competitive contest, they come down to possessions. That's an area that I thought we got better in as the game went on."
But after Albany center Alexi Schecter opened the second quarter with a jumper, the Terps found their footing.
Ignited by Watson's 3-pointer, seven different Terps contributed to a dominant 25-0 run in that frame. In less than 10 minutes of game time, Maryland went from deadlocked to more than doubling Albany's point total.
Watson said she put her early struggles from the field behind her in sparking the run.
"Brenda always says, 'Don't worry about the misses, just keep your head down and keep working,'" Watson said. "I feel like that's what I definitely did, and I definitely fed off of my teammates' energy."
Maryland picked up right where it left off in the second half. To open the frame, forward Stephanie Jones forced a turnover, leading to a three-pointer from guard Kristen Confroy. Just 24 seconds later, Watson hit a three.
Coming out of the locker room on a 10-3 run, the Terps had no difficulty keeping the Great Danes at bay for the remainder of the contest.
The variety of scorers led to complete domination over three quarters. Following the first period, Maryland outscored Albany, 77-44.
For the game as a whole, six Terps hit double digits in points, and Jones and Fraser compiled double-doubles, with 18 and 10 rebounds, respectively. The Terps had a 60-42 advantage on the boards, which Jones said was "huge for us."
"This team knows every time they step out on the floor that they're going to come out and they're going to compete," Frese said. "I don't really think anything changes for us. … It's just fine-tuning some of these little things."