Over the last two weeks the Maryland Lady Terrapins (21-4, 8-2 ACC) have stepped up their “A” game.
With a formidable backcourt, led by seniors Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver, the Terrapins have dispatched opponents in convincing fashion.
Maryland’s last loss was back on Jan. 30.
They dropped an 89-81 decision to the Virginia Cavaliers, but since then have punished teams with a balance of attacking offense and tight defense.
Tonight, the fearless Terps face a gritty Georgia Tech squad at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia.
There are three more games left on Maryland’s ACC schedule until the tournament begins on March 5.
Maryland plays at home against the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday. If they can handle the physical presence Georgia Tech brings to the court, the better chance the Lady Terps have at continued success against the nationally ranked teams ahead of them in the AP poll.
Marissa Coleman earned ACC player of the week honors for her performance last week.
In a three-game span, she averaged 24.3 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 3.3 STL, and 1.3 BLK.
Toliver and Coleman took over games against Boston College, Virginia, and Rutgers, scoring 135 of their team’s 246 total points.
All three of these opponents are potential NCAA tournament hopefuls.
As for Georgia Tech (18-7, 5-5 ACC), they are staring at a red-hot Maryland team that has control of their own destiny.
The Yellow Jackets beat the Terps 77-72 in last season’s meeting in Atlanta.
Maryland likes to get out and run with the ball, which could cause them to have more turnovers.
Through their first 21 games, the Terps averaged 17.9 turnovers a game.
However, in four out of their five wins, they averaged just 10.8 turnovers.
Maryland must keep possession of the ball, or the pace of tonight’s game could swing in Georgia Tech’s direction.
Earlier this year, Georgia Tech upset then-No. 2 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 66-62 on Jan. 22.
Georgia Tech leads the ACC in scoring defense. (53 points per game)
They lead all Division I basketball in average steals per game. (14)
Senior guard Jacqua Williams averages 3.6 steals.
The Yellow Jackets are solid in the interior post, and force an ACC-best average of 26.5 turnovers a game.
They will not be intimidated by the aggressive nature of Maryland’s offensive strategy.
Maryland’s coach Brenda Frese told her players in the game against Rutgers to expect a lot of physical contact.
My prediction is that she will not deviate from her pre-game speech for the Tech game either.
Keys to the game:
Maryland can negate the defensive pressure from Georgia Tech by hitting high percentage shots.
Maryland needs to take what Georgia Tech is giving them.
Stay aggressive, and keep their composure. Poised players are the hardest to defend.
Johnson’s final thoughts:
Look for coach Frese to rotate center Lynetta Kizer with forward Dee Liles to prevent them from getting into foul trouble.
Coleman and Toliver are disciplined players.
I expect them to play the majority of the game with high intensity.
Final Score: Maryland - 63 Georgia Tech - 57