No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball is gearing up for a new season in College Park, aiming to build on last year’s Elite Eight run.
Much of the preseason discussion revolved around how the new-look Terps will operate without WNBA first-round draft picks Diamond Miller and Abby Meyers. Head coach Brenda Frese appears well-prepared, though, having reloaded the roster with a strong transfer acquisition and a promising freshman class.
The Terps’ season will kick off with a matchup against last year’s Ivy League Tournament runner-up’s, Harvard.
Monday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. and stream on Big Ten Plus.
Harvard Crimson (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
2022 record: 20-12 (9-5 Ivy League)
After a successful first year, head coach Carrie Moore has realistic aspirations to take Harvard to the NCAA Tournament this season.
She led the Crimson to 20 wins last season, the most for a first-year head coach in program history. Finishing with a 20-12 record, they advanced to the conference tournament championship game, where they fell to Princeton, 54-48.
In the WNIT Tournament, they made an appearance in the quarterfinals.
Players to know
Harmoni Turner, junior guard, No. 14 — As one of Harvard’s three captains this season, Turner lead the team with 16.3 points per game last year, which garnered an All-Ivy first team selection.
Elena Rodriguez, junior guard, No. 10 — Rodriguez had a strong 2022-23 season, earning an All-Ivy honorable mention. She led the Crimson with 6.9 rebounds per game and 0.7 blocks per game. Additionally, she contributed 11.3 points per game, which ranked fourth on the team.
Lola Mullaney, senior guard, No. 20 — Last season, Mullaney ranked second on the team with 14.3 points per game, notching a career-high 30 against Brown. She was also named to the All-Ivy second team.
Shooting. Last season, Harvard led the Ivy League in field goal percentage (44.8), 3-point percentage (36.7) and free throw percentage (72). The team also makes an average of 7.5 threes per game, which was good for third in the conference.
Loss of McKenzie Forbes. Forbes was the third leading scorer on the 2022-23 team, averaging 13.7 points per game. In addition, she was a team captain and was named to the Ivy League Madness All-Tournament team. Replacing both her leadership ability and scoring prowess could prove to be a tough task for the Crimson.
Three things to watch
1. Scoring distribution. With the starting five not set in stone, it will be interesting to see how the team’s scoring is distributed. Shyanne Sellers will likely be the primary ball handler, but the order of second and third scoring options remains unclear. Faith Masonius was an important contributor last season, while Brinae Alexander and Lavender Briggs have shown versatility and skill that can make them significant scoring assets for the team. Additionally, transfer Jakia Brown-Turner and freshman Riley Nelson impressed in the team’s two exhibition games.
2. Secondary options. It will be interesting to see which players get the opportunity to contribute off the bench. Bri McDaniel appears poised for a big sophomore year, and it would not be surprising if she sees a major role. Additionally, Emma Chardon and Allie Kubek, both returning from injury, may gradually regain their playing time and become more significant contributors as the season unfolds.
3. What will the freshmen bring? Riley Nelson, a consensus top-20 recruit in the 2023 class, is the main freshman to watch. She possesses athleticism and a well-rounded scoring ability that should make her an effective contributor early. Players like Emily Fisher, though, are lower in the depth chart and may not see much playing time early on.