Fourth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball comes into the 2021-22 season with a target on its back, and preseason recognition from the conference confirmed that Tuesday.
The Terps were picked to win the Big Ten by both the conference’s coaches and media, per release. The honor is well-earned for Maryland, which returns its starting five and top-seven scorers from the nation’s highest-scoring offense in 2020-21. Maryland simply dominated the Big Ten last season, going 20-1 against conference opponents en route to winning regular season and conference tournament championships.
In addition to the team honors, junior guards Ashley Owusu and Diamond Miller were voted to the 10-player Preseason All-Big Ten Team. On the coaches’ team, Owusu was a unanimous selection. The Co-Big Ten Tournament MVPs come into the year as one of the nation’s most highly-touted backcourts.
Owusu was named last year’s recipient of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for women’s college basketball’s best shooting guard after averaging 17.9 points per game. Owusu is also an elite passer — she averaged 5.9 assists per game last season — and was named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List for the best point guard in the country Monday.
Miller was not far behind Owusu last season, averaging 17.3 points per game and reaching double figures in 28 of 29 games played. Her three-point shooting rose nearly 10% from her freshman to sophomore year, establishing herself as one of the best shooting guards in America.
Miller received recognition for that Tuesday, as did graduate student guard Katie Benzan. Both players were named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award List, per release.
Benzan, utilizing her fifth year of eligibility, was the best three-point shooter in the NCAA last season. She made exactly 50% of her threes and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team at the end of the season. It was the fourth all-conference honor of her career after being named All-Ivy League First Team three times at Harvard.
Maryland certainly carries a ton of talent as it enters the season as the Big Ten favorites. The Terps will be in action Friday, Oct. 29, for an exhibition tilt against Fairmont State.