No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball took home its 15th straight home opener Monday, beating Harvard, 98-75.
The Terps led by 20 after the first quarter and never looked back, leading the rest of the way.
“I thought we set the tone from the tip,” said head coach Brenda Frese. “I loved how we came out [in] both the first half [and] first quarter, I thought we really displayed our dominance.”
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Shyanne Sellers played to perfection
Coming into this season, Sellers had been adamant about not trying to do too much, despite the void left by the departures of Diamond Miller and Abby Meyers.
On Monday night, she played to her style and impressed.
The junior guard finished the game with 25 points, seven assists and four rebounds to go along with two blocks and two steals. It was a dominant night that saw her finish with a plus/minus of +30.
“I’m just going to elevate my game, and not change it up too much,” Sellers said.
While her all-around effort stood out, Seller’s efficiency shooting the ball was even more eye-popping. Sellers shot 7-of-11 from the field and made three of five 3-point attempts while also making all eight of her free throws. She fell only one point shy of her single-game career high of 26, which came against Iowa last season.
Sellers was also looking to distribute all night. Her seven assists were more than half her average last season, and she opted for a few fourth-quarter assists instead of aiming for her career high in points. “I’d rather have gotten the 10 assists than my career high to be honest, so I wasn’t really thinking about it,” she said.
Sellers’ two blocks and steals answered any questions on the defensive end.
Maryland looked fluid offensively
Headed into the season, Frese mentioned that the Terps would rely on their depth more so than in previous seasons. While it’s only the first game of the season, 10 players saw the floor in the first quarter.
Four players scored double-digit points for Maryland, including Emma Chardon, who had 10 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
The Terps were also unselfish with the ball. Last season, they averaged 16.9 assists per game, which ranked fifth in the Big Ten. Maryland easily bested that Monday, dishing out 23 assists against the Crimson.
It wasn’t just the assists — Maryland’s ball movement in general was impressive. While a few swings to the corners were missed, all five players touched the ball on most half-court possessions.
Frese made it clear that the team is going to have to keep playing this way in order to have success this season.
“It’s gonna have to be by committee, and I think they showed that tonight,” Frese said.
A lack of inside size showed
Last year, Maryland was often plagued on the interior by its lack of size. Against an inferior Harvard squad, Terps were out-rebounded on the offensive glass by 10.
One could make the argument that the Crimson had more opportunities for offensive boards because they shot almost twice as many threes. But Frese mentioned that the stat was based primarily on Harvard’s fight, which was key in keeping the game relatively competitive after the first quarter.
“25 [offensive rebounds], that’s a statistic of effort that we’ve got to do a better job with,” Frese said.
Chardon and Allie Kubek, who made their Terp debuts, project to be key post players as the season wanes on, but the duo combined for just five rebounds.
The Terps’ next two games are both away from home against some of the top teams in the country in No. 6 South Carolina and No. 2 UConn.
Both those teams have established interior size, and South Carolina’s especially gave Maryland trouble last year in their two matchups. The Gamecocks’ starting forwards are 6-foot-7 Kamilla Cardoso and 6-foot-2 Chloe Kitts.
Frese knows that Maryland has to be better rebounding the ball Sunday. “I mean, we’re gonna have to get that right clearly,” she said.