Last Season for Brenda Frese and the the Maryland women's basketball ended with a heartbreaking Final Four loss to the Connecticut Huskies, 81-58. Before that loss, the Maryland women's basketball team had won 28-straight games and went undefeated in the Big Ten. Both streaks started after their 92-72 loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Times have changed since then.
Lexie Brown, who was a big part of Maryland's success last year, transferred to Duke. Laurin Mincy was another great talent for the the Terps at guard, but she was drafted in the third round (27th overall) of the 2015 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. Redshirt senior guard Brene Moseley may be the one to fill both of the voids they left. She has been impressive so far this season, including the season opener against UMass-Lowell, scoring 24 points off the bench and adding 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals to her stat line in the 102-53 win.
While the Terps talent wise haven't loss a step it seems, the questions is who in the Big Ten will give them the biggest challenge? I've got at least three teams in mind:
The Ohio State Buckeyes met the Terps in the Big Ten championship game last year and played pretty well the whole game up until the end. This year, the Buckeye's still have sophomore forward Alexa Hart, and guards Cait Craft, Ameryst Alston and the very impressive Kelsey Mitchell to rely on as a nucleus. The Buckeyes only have two seniors on the squad but the young talent that they do have could prove to be a true test for Maryland. Who knows? We might see a rematch of the Big Ten championship in 2016. The Terps and Buckeyes face one another January 2nd and February 8th this season. Maryland will have home court advantage in the first match-up.
#2. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes have an experienced team made up of juniors and seniors. They were the second best team in the Big Ten last year with a 26-8 overall record and went 14-4 in conference. Junior guard Ally Disterhoft is someone to watch out for in my eyes as the leader in the back court for the Hawkeyes. In the front court Kali Peschel and Carly Mohns should be able to give teams fits. The Terps and the Hawkeyes will only see each other once this season on Jan 10.
The Northwestern Wildcats could be a problem for the Maryland Terrapins just because they have so much size. Currently on their roster, they have seven players over six feet. Size in the game of basketball is pivotal because it could be the difference between dominating the paint on both sides of the floor or not all. Nia Coffey and Oceana Hamilton, the transfer from Alabama, should be players to watch in the front court for the Wildcats. The Terps and Wildcats will play one another January 17th and February 14th.
All three of these teams pose a threat to the Terps. Can Maryland go undefeated in conference two years in a row? It would be a sight to see but it's unlikely given the Terps' roster changes and the conference's familiarity with the program.