Junior Laurin Mincy, an ACC preseason first-team pick, is out for the season with a right ACL injury she received last Wednesday. She is the third player lost to the team because of injury.
Thomas and Hawkins have strengthened the Terps up front, but no more so than Mincy had bolstered the backcourt.
Mincy's injury left Maryland with just seven players for the game, three of them freshman. And that provided Auriemma the idea he could press the Terps' guards, one which Maryland tried to counter by using Thomas, a preseason All-American, to help bring the ball up.
And so UConn did, initially with its new starting lineup, one that did not feature Caroline Doty, who played 19 minutes off the bench,
But even though the Huskies forced 13 turnovers in the first 12 minutes — and 15 in the first half — the Terps matched their intensity for most of the frenetic first 20 minutes.
The Huskies took a 6-0 lead in the first two minutes, forcing three turnovers in the process. Then things evened up right across the board until the Terps pulled within 17-15.
At that point, Stewart took over. She scored seven straight points, followed by a three-pointer by Mosqueda-Lewis. And suddenly the Huskies were ahead, 27-15, with 3:50 to play in the half.
The momentum was temporarily stunted when Dolson fouled Katie Rutan shooting a three with a half-tick left on the shot clock. Rutan made the three free throws.
"I am not completely happy with how we responded to the physical play," Faris said. "I think we could have responded better."
But Dolson came right back to score and two hustle baskets by Faris pushed the Huskies to a 33-20 halftime lead.