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Notes from Maryland women’s basketball media day

The Terps, ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP poll, addressed the media Thursday.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Media Days Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball head coach Brenda Frese and her team addressed the media Thursday at the team’s annual media day, offering an early look at the Terps, who were ranked No. 14 in the preseason AP poll.

Here are three takeaways.

The Terps boast significant depth

Last season, WNBA draftees Diamond Miller and Abby Meyers carried a significant portion of the workload for the Terps, averaging 19.7 and 14.3 points, respectively.

Due to their absences, Frese recognizes that this season the scoring responsibilities may need to be distributed among multiple players rather than relying on a single individual.

“This team knows they’ve got big shoes to fill,” Frese said. “[They] understand it’s going to be more collective and it will be by team.”

Junior Shyanne Sellers, who earned preseason All-Big Ten recognition, is anticipated to step into the role of the de facto leader, especially after maintaining a consistent scoring average of 13.9 points.

“There’s a huge responsibility on Shy’s shoulders the season and you know, this is something she’s asked for throughout her entire career,” Frese said.

Frese also underscored the significance of other key returners, with Lavender Briggs and Brinae Alexander among them. Briggs, who joined Maryland after the 2021-22 season, played a solid role for the Terps last year, reaching a season-high of 19 points and contributing five boards in a victory against Iowa. On the other hand, Alexander, who transferred from Vanderbilt in 2022, was designated as a team co-captain and displayed remarkable consistency by appearing in every game.

“[Briggs and Alexander] absolutely have come back and they’re settled. They’re comfortable. They’re confident,” Frese said. “I think Brinae is in much better shape than she was a year ago ... [Briggs] is one of our best defenders and can really score the basketball.”

Frese also has seasoned leader Faith Masonius and NC State transfer Jakia Brown-Turner, in her arsenal. This suggests the potential for experimenting with different lineups.

“I think rotations are starting to form,” Frese said. “[The coaches] technically decide the lineups but [the players] are already deciding their lineups through their practices and their play.”

The Terps are a skilled, versatile group

In conversations with the players themselves, the message was resoundingly clear: the team’s collective success takes precedence, and individual accolades naturally follow suit.

“I really don’t think about myself when it comes to things because like I know like, I’m going to still like be myself and play my game,” sophomore Bri McDaniel said. “Always trying to come in with a positive attitude and a positive mindset coming in ... just ready to work.”

McDaniel was ranked as the No. 42 recruit in the class of 2022, but her full potential wasn’t showcased during her freshman year, as she averaged just over nine minutes per game. This season, she appears to be fully prepared to make a significant sophomore leap.

“I feel like I can also do everything,” McDaniel said. “Just knowing like, okay, defense wins games, so I’m gonna get downhill, play hard defense, get on the floor, get steals, get rebounds.”

The return of Allie Kubek and Emma Chardon from injuries that sidelined them for the 2022-23 season, along with the debut of the 6-foot-7 Hawa Doumbouya, generates significant intrigue surrounding the team’s potential to enhance their rebounding skills and become a formidable defensive force.

“I think the sky’s the limit defensively,” Frese said.

Some new faces are ready to make an impact

Brown-Turner, who was recently included on the Cheryl Miller Award Watch List, given to the nation’s top small forward, is expected to make an immediate impact on the wing. In 2022, she was named to the Naismith Award Preseason Watch List, and as a senior she averaged 9.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.8 minutes per game.

“I think I can bring anything coach Frese needs or my teammates need, whether that’s scoring, playing defense or rebounding,” Brown-Turner said.

The graduate transfer has also been inspired by her experiences thus far as a member of the Terps.

“This is my first year here and I love my teammates, and I feel like we’re going to be ready,” Brown-Turner said. “I feel like we have the opportunity to prove ourselves just from off our rankings.”

The No. 14 Terps are also introducing several freshmen, including Riley Nelson and Emily Fisher.

“This year, I think I’m kind of playing a facilitating role, trying to become that leader on the court,” Nelson said.