COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland isn't used to losing games early in the season. After an upset at St. Joseph's last weekend, the Terrapins were confident they wouldn't drop two straight.
Tianna Hawkins had 25 points and nine rebounds, Malina Howard added 17 points, and Alicia DeVaughn had 14 to help No. 10 Maryland beat American 94-54 on Wednesday.
It was the first game for Maryland (3-1) since their 50-49 loss at St. Joseph's. The Terrapins blew a nine-point lead with 9:10 to play, scoring just two points.
American (0-3) was the ideal opponent.
The Terrapins led by 47-21 at halftime and were never threatened in the second half.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese was certain her team would deliver a convincing win.
"I knew from our two practices. It was night-and-day, our two practices leading up to St. Joe's and our two practices after St. Joe's. When you know that, when you have the pulse on them, there was no question that we'd come back," Frese said.
Frese started freshman Chloe Pavlech at point guard for the first time and she responded with eight assists.
"Chloe has a level of toughness to her. She was really good, really solid, has a high IQ, knows how to pass to the right position," Frese said.
Geleisa George had a career-high 13 points for American. Jen Dumiak, who averaged 20.5 points in the Eagles' first two games, had nine. The Eagles committed 21 turnovers, eight in the first 9 minutes.
"When you play against a really good team, every mistake you make is exploited," American coach Matt Corkery said. "I felt we were outmatched in a lot of different spots on the floor."
Maryland had a 10-0 run to take a 20-6 lead. At halftime, with the Terrapins holding a 26-point lead, Hawkins, who had been held to two points by St. Joseph's, already had 15. Maryland had a 43-point edge at 92-49 with 3:26 to play.
The loss to St. Joseph's was on the players' minds as they prepared for American.
"I think it was a very big shock. I didn't expect it," Howard said. "It was a really good learning experience for us as a team to see that it's not always going to be so easy and people aren't just going to lay down for us and everybody's going to come at us because we have a target on our back."
The Terps don't play again for a week, but have a difficult two-game stretch. They visit No. 23 Nebraska in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 28, and play No. 2 Connecticut in Hartford, Conn., on Dec. 3 before starting ACC play on Dec. 6 against Virginia.
"It should be easy to get this team's attention. We know the week we have ahead," Frese said.
"It's going to be a lot of fun. That's why you come to Maryland. You want to be ranked at the highest level. You want to play that kind of competition going into two hostile environments will absolutely prepare us for conference play."
Pavlech put it simply: "The best teams want to play the best teams."
American has lost 17 of 18 meetings with Maryland, losing the last nine. The Eagles haven't beaten the Terrapins since Dec. 30, 1986. American doesn't open conference play until Jan. 12.
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