No. 6 Maryland aces first test, routs No. 23 Arizona State
By MIKE CRANSTON
LAS VEGAS (AP) No. 6 Maryland cruised to a 4-0 start by averaging 102 points and winning by an average of 49 points against inferior opponents.
No. 23 Arizona State was supposed to provide the first true yardstick. Only the Terrapins' press quickly turned it into another eye-popping rout.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 20 points and Maryland led by as many as 32 points in the first half in an 83-42 victory over Arizona State on Friday.
"It's early, but I love the competitiveness," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "It was a big test for us early to see where we're at. It's a great sign."
Brionna Jones added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brianna Fraser scored 11 points for the Terrapins (5-0). They shot 55 percent from the field and used a stifling defense to race to leads of 10-0, 24-4 and 38-6 in the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.
"We're growing. I don't think we're at our peak at all," Walker-Kimbrough said. "But you can see that we're coming together."
The Terrapins hit 13 of their first 17 shots while their press forced Arizona State into a 1-of-17 start from the field with nine turnovers.
"I love our length, our athleticism," Frese said. "We're able to throw a lot of different looks. That's something we've really been able to build upon as a team. I thought we really made them have to work for everything."
Kaila Charles had 10 points and seven rebounds and freshman Destiny Slocum scored 10 points for Maryland.
Relli Richardson scored 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting for the Sun Devils (2-2), They shot 28 percent from the field in their second straight loss.
Early in the second quarter, Arizona State coach Charli Turner Thorne had taken more timeouts (2) than her team had field goals (1). She later picked up a technical foul in the Sun Devils' most lopsided defeat since falling to Stanford 82-35 on Jan. 8, 2011.
"We've obviously got really young guard play. But our front line has not really started the season strong," Turner Thorne said. "Those are our veterans and those are the ones that need to carry the day for us."
Senior Sophie Brunner, who was held to four points, committed six of Arizona State's 20 turnovers.
Arizona State: The loss to Marquette a week ago doesn't look as bad after the Golden Eagles then won Tuesday at No. 22 Oregon State. But this one-sided defeat was a wakeup call for a team that starts two freshmen guards.
Maryland: The Terrapins entered with a Sagarin schedule strength of 342 out of 349 Division I teams. But Arizona State proved no match either ahead of December nonconference showdowns against No. 4 Louisville and No. 2 UConn.
Arizona State: The rout could mean a Top 25 exit for a program that was a No. 2 seed in last season's NCAA Tournament.
Maryland: Voters had a tough time judging the Terrapins after playing four low-major teams. Could this dominant victory give them a chance to leapfrog No. 5 Baylor?
Turner Thorne spent a fourth quarter timeout yelling and stomping the floor as her players circled her in silence.
"I haven't been in this situation for many years. You just have to get better," Turner Thorne said. "When your senior gets scored on and just jogs down the floor, what does that say? That's just not a winning mentality. That's not what we do."
Arizona State faces St. John's on Saturday to conclude the two-game, fixed-matchup event at the South Point Hotel, Casino and Spa.
Maryland plays Washington State on Saturday to conclude its first trip to Las Vegas since the 1978-79 season.
Updated November 25, 2016