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Maryland women’s basketball media day notebook

The Terps checked in at No. 17 in the preseason AP Poll.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese held her opening press conference at media day to kick off the 2022-23 season. Players on the team also spoke to the media.

The Terps are in the midst of a large roster turnover, with nine new additions donning the black and red this season. This season’s Maryland team doesn’t possess size from year’s past, instead hoping to use speed as their calling card.

Here are three takeaways from Media Day.

This roster is a fun and tight-knit group.

The 2022-23 team instantly appeared as a lively group, led by freshman guard Gia Cooke. The Clinton native danced and was consistently making jokes with her fellow teammate Mila Reynolds. Cooke enjoys spreading her love for the game, while having fun at the same time.

“If you’re uptight all the time, you’re never going to learn to love life,” Cooke said. “I’ve always liked being positive and making people smile when they’re down. I love cracking jokes and I’m really goofy.”

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese believes that with several newcomers added to the fold, building continuity was at the forefront of the offseason program.

“When the semester started, we were able to go off and have a team retreat [in Luray Caverns], which was very effective,” Frese said. “We brought in a communications specialist this year along with character coaches to keep building chemistry with one another.”

The Terps schedule features matchups with several powerhouse programs, including the defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks coming to College Park on Nov. 11.

Finding ways to gel quickly bodes well for Maryland, which remains among some of the top teams in the Big Ten.

Expect widespread scoring this season, with Frese looking to play “positionless basketball.”

It’s no secret that Maryland brought in a ton of scoring options this season, with transfers Abby Meyers, Lavender Briggs and Allie Kubek set to fill the void of nine offseason departures for the Terps.

Unfortunately, Kubek will miss the 22-23 campaign after tearing her ACL earlier in the offseason. Her absence will be missed, but Frese said that players will “have to be ready and step up in the fold.”

With a smaller lineup than years past, the Terps will look to play with speed and go up the court with a “grab and go mentality.”

“Speed kills, and we’re going to have to use that speed in the full court,” Frese said.

Frese and her staff will instill a fast-paced transition game in this group.

Meyers, who drove play for Princeton from the wing the past three seasons, knows her role in this offense will be much different.

“This is a versatile team and we’re going to have to be ready to go at all five positions,” the senior guard said.

She added that Frese’s want to play “positionless basketball” made her work on ball-handling skills in the offseason, something that wasn’t as important for her at Princeton.

After seeing its total offense drop nearly 12 points per game last season, a newer style of basketball is in the cards for Maryland, which will look to share the wealth early and often.

“We’ll find out a lot about ourselves really early,” Frese said.

What’s sure is that this new-look offense will be tested really early, going against No. 1 South Carolina in the second game of the season. The Gamecocks led the nation in rebounds last season while also possessing the third best scoring defense.

All the attention is on Diamond Miller.

The preseason All-Big Ten Team selection garnered much of the attention from the media Thursday morning, and rightfully so. Named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List earlier this week — given to the nation’s top shooting guard — Miller is set to lead the Terps after a dominant, yet injury-riddled season in which she averaged 13.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.

Miller and Faith Masonius are the longest-tenured Terps.

“Obviously we’re going to be led by Diamond,” Frese said. “She is back and she is healthy. I love what I’ve been able to see from her.”

Frese repeatedly spoke about the good health and standout play she has seen from Miller in practice. Miller had knee surgery in the spring.

With the losses of Angel Reese and Ashley Owusu to the transfer portal this offseason, Miller’s role on and off the court will be crucial this year.

“She’s a player that has been here for three years now, and someone that I trust completely on the court as well as with her leadership for our team,” Frese said. “She’s going to put a lot on her shoulders for our team this season.”