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Maryland women’s basketball is back, and the Terps are ahead of the curve

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This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Michigan State vs Maryland Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Less than an hour after Maryland football wrapped up its first media session of the week yesterday in advance of the Penn State game, I was on the main floor at Xfinity Center for the women’s basketball team’s first open practice of the season. I’ll be writing about this team all winter, and as the season comes closer I’ll have some more official preview stuff, but this will have to do for the time being.

The Terps traveled to Italy as a team from Aug. 5-13, playing two games against professional squads (they went 1-1). Per NCAA rules, Maryland was allowed to practice as a team in preparation for the trip. Because of this, everyone was already familiar with each other and with the schemes. That’s big, because there are six freshmen on this team.

Three more observations

1. Destiny Slocum is the real deal. Slocum, the no. 7 prospect in the Class of 2016, was the headliner of Maryland’s top-ranked recruiting class. The freshman was clearly one of the best players on the floor in practice; her handle and jumper stand out.

2. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough has taken another step forward. I saw her miss one shot during the 90 minutes or so that I was in the gym, and it’s not because I wasn’t paying attention. She was also much more of a vocal leader throughout drills and scrimmages, which is something new for the oft-reserved senior.

3. Some old friends were on the scout team. Malina Howard and Lynetta Kizer were practicing against the current batch of Terps. Howard finished her career this spring but is taking graduate classes at the school, while Kizer is in between WNBA and overseas professional seasons.

In other news

It’s Penn State week. Here’s what we’re expecting in that game, and what we saw against Purdue.

Our own Sammi Silber took some great photos at the Purdue game. Check them out.

Yannick Ngakoue intercepted his first NFL pass in Week 4. Here’s our roundup of how he and other pro Terps fared this weekend.

Maryland volleyball is developing a pretty strong home-court advantage at the Xfinity Center Pavilion.

Field hockey beat another ranked opponent Tuesday, topping No. 13 Old Dominion 2-1.

Maryland and Penn State are pretty good at taking quarterbacks from each other’s backyards. Perry Hills is from Pittsburgh and Trace McSorley is from Northern Virginia, but there’s more to it.

Here’s a cool profile on Walt Bell and his unexpected rise in the coaching world.