Cornell entered Saturday’s matchup with the No. 1 Terrapins women’s lacrosse team with the second-best defense in the country.

And for about the first 90 seconds, the Big Red (8-1) didn’t have to worry about defending the third-best scoring offense in the nation.

Midfielder Amie Dickson broke away from the Terps defense and scored to give Cornell an early one-goal lead. For the first time this season, the Terps weren’t the first team on the scoreboard.

But in a 17-9 victory over the Big Red, it didn’t matter.

After the Terps shot close to 30 percent in the first half against Northwestern, coach Cathy Reese challenged her young squad to adjust. The Terps made all but eight of their shots in the first half.

They went 5-for-15 in the second, though.

“The second half we didn’t do as well as we would have liked,” Reese said. “But we had different looks and different people coming through on the offensive end.”

Attacker Megan Whittle tied the game about a minute after Cornell’s goal, and the Terps offense quickly gained momentum.

The Terps (10-0) scored the next six goals before Dickson scored her second of the evening, which made it a 7-2 contest. While Dickson scored two more times, the Terps were still able to take a 12-6 lead into the half.

With about 11 minutes remaining in the first half, the Terps had seven different goal scorers.

“We definitely turned it on,” attacker Caroline Wannen said. “It doesn’t feel good to get scored on first. After that, we wanted to come back with an answer.”

The Big Red’s six first-half goals are the tied for the most the Terps have allowed in a period all season. And the nine goals in the game also matched the most they’ve allowed.

“We had a great win against Northwestern and we were still on our high,” defender Nadine Hadnagy said. “First half, we started off real slow. We picked it up.”

But the offense put the game out of reach. Whittle, Wannen and midfielder Taylor Cummings all notched hat tricks to pace a balanced attack that overcame a season-high 17 turnovers.

“We saw the open people tonight,” Wannen said. “We hit those cutters right away. But on the other hand, we definitely want to limit our turnovers. That’s the biggest thing.”

Less than a minute into the second half, Whittle, a sophomore playing her 32nd career game, scored the 100th goal of her career to give the Terps a 13-6 edge.

They cruised the rest of the way.