No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball showed areas of growth this past weekend, defeating Towson and Pittsburgh in consecutive days. The Terps only blemish came on Nov. 25 in a 76-67 upset loss to DePaul.
Here are three takeaways from the holiday weekend.
The Terps bounced back.
The Fort Myers Tip-Off got off to a rough, yet familiar start. Last season, the Terps lost both of their in-season tournament games, provided they came against two top-10 opponents in North Carolina State and Stanford.
Maryland began its three-game stretch Friday morning against DePaul, where it looked just a tick off in almost every aspect of the game.
It shot 21% from three against one of the nation’s top scoring offenses, and found itself fighting from behind for most of the game. A late third-quarter lead looked like it might change some momentum, but the Blue Demons were simply better than the No. 14 team in the country down the stretch.
Frese said postgame of how the most disappointing thing was that her team “didn’t execute.”
But as the tournament progressed, Maryland got better.
Against Towson on Saturday, the execution was there, especially late. While the Tigers kept it close throughout, the Terps led for all but three minutes and three seconds. It was a much cleaner game from head coach Brenda Frese’s side, shooting at a near 50% mark from the field en route to a 81-70 victory.
And against a good Pittsburgh side, Maryland was outstanding. Clinical on the defensive end, holding the Panthers to 61 points, it was even better on the offensive end.
The Suncoast Credit Union Arena was home to a shooting gallery for the Terps on Sunday, with senior guard Brinae Alexander draining five threes in a 17-point performance. Fellow senior Abby Meyers led the way with 23 points as the Terps cruised to an 87-63 win.
“I love our fight. We could have went in two directions after a tough loss against a really good DePaul Team. Just seeing the fight and resiliency from the Towson game to even responding today, I think that bodes well for us in the future,” Frese said.
Faith Masonius: the glue player.
Forwards Diamond Miller and Faith Masonius are the only two true seniors on Maryland’s retooled roster. They’re the brains and brawns of the Terps. Miller described Masonius as a “glue player” after she scored 14 points against Towson on Saturday. Masonius ended the Fort Myers Tip-Off tournament with 33 points on 61% shooting from the field.
The New Jersey native has been through a lot during her collegiate career, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but she is fully healthy this year. Her performance in the tournament was distinctive and warrants praise. Frese maintains the starting lineup is fluid and ever-changing, but it would serve the Terps well to keep Masonius in it. If Masonius keeps playing this way, Maryland will reap the benefits.
Frese said it best right after the final buzzer sounded against Towson.
“If we didn’t have Faith, I’m not sure where we would be,” she said.
The Terps showed they won’t have to rely on Diamond Miller.
The 2022-23 Maryland Terrapins are a team loaded with talent at every position, but are lacking the on-court chemistry of playing with one another.
Maryland star senior guard Diamond Miller leads the way on offense, but the Terps have several capable contributors across the roster.
After falling 76-67 to DePaul on Nov. 25, the Terps returned the following day for a clash with Towson.
In that game, Miller, who scored 20 points, was one of three starters to score in double figures.
One of those was sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers, who had an effective stat line with 14 points, five assists, two steals and a block. Sellers is a floor general with excellent defensive instincts and a knack for scoring the basketball.
The Terps’ defense limited the Tigers to 14-38 shooting from the field in the second half of their 81-70 victory.
Against Pittsburgh in the tournament finale, three of Maryland’s nine newcomers contributed to the scoring bunch. Princeton transfer Abby Meyers led all scorers with 23 points, as she registered a 50% shooting percentage from the field to go with three 3-pointers.
Alexander provided an instant spark off the bench, as she drained five of her eight three-point attempts in the contest. The former Vanderbilt standout recorded 17 points and added four rebounds to her impressive showing.
“You could tell in the very first possession of play that our chemistry is growing, the unselfishness with one another and I think it’s a lot more fun when the ball moves and we’re able to find the open shooter,” Frese said.
Alexander and Meyers caught heat in the third quarter, as they combined for 21 of the Terps’ 36 points within the 10 minutes.
“[My] second shot was a three and I knocked it down. I knew that I had the green light in terms of knocking down threes and credit to Nae [Brinae Alexander], she came in ready and helped us out. Five for eight [from three point range],” Meyers said.
There was an additional encouraging sign to see, as senior guard Lavender Briggs looked to be gaining confidence in her new role off the bench.
Briggs scored 10 points and was second on the team with eight rebounds in the contest. The Florida transfer shot the ball with conviction and was decisive with the ball in her hands. The guard is returning this season following a lower body injury and seems to be hitting her stride.
If you pair Diamond Miller’s offensive production with the other valued contributions, Maryland could be a scary team to face in the Big Ten. The Terps believed they grew from their experience in Fort Myers and took strides over the weekend.
“I love our fight, and we could have went two directions after a tough loss against a really good DePaul team. Just seeing the fight and resiliency from the Towson game to even responding today, I think bodes well for us in the future,” Frese said after the Pittsburgh game.