The Big Ten released the results of the preseason coaches and media preseason women's basketball polls Thursday morning and, unsurprisingly to Terrapins fans, both groups named Maryland as the preseason favorite. It makes sense since the Terps are the only current B1G team coming off a Final Four season.
On the other hand, in a possibly eerie parallel to the selection of men's soccer to win the conference, the women's basketball team will also have to find a way to replace a superstar player. For soccer, it was Patrick Mullins. For women's hoops, it's Alyssa Thomas.
Fortunately for supporters of women's hoops, though they return only one senior, these Terps will be far less reliant on their freshmen than was men's soccer. The returning senior is Laurin Mincy who, by early practice reports is as healthy as she has been in her Terrapins' career and who should be a major contributor.
But Mincy will not be alone and won't be asked to carry the team. Maryland returns a solid junior class featuring Malina Howard, Tierney Pfieman, and redshirt junior Brene Moseley and the sophomores include some potential stars in post player Brionna Jones and wing Shatori Walker-Kimbrough as well as a potential superstar at guard, Lexie Brown.
Interestingly, neither the coaches nor the media see the Terps as a star driven squad. Perhaps due to a lack of familiarity, the coaches preseason All-Big Ten team is devoid of Terrapins and the media projections include Brown as the Terrapins' only representative. The latter had six players due to a tie in voting.
Both polls selected Michigan State to finish second behind Maryland. The coaches tabbed Iowa to finish third while the media placed the Nebraska Cornhuskers in that slot.
The Terps play their first exhibition game against Goldey-Beacom on the first of November. The season gets underway in earnest on Friday, November 14th when Maryland hosts Mount St. Mary's in an 11:00 am game.
Testudo Times will have more coverage on the upcoming women's basketball season as those dates near.