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Kiah Gillespie has a new number and a new role for Maryland women’s basketball

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Our Profiles in Terpage series continues with this versatile forward.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Maggie Dixon Classic-Maryland vs Connecticut Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball starts its season on Nov. 13 against UMass Lowell. Until then we’re profiling every player on the team.

Kiah Gillespie, sophomore, forward, 6’0, no. 15

Hometown: Meriden, Conn.

High school: Capital Prep Magnet

Twitter: @Kiah15Gillespie

Recruiting Ratings: Five stars, No. 25 overall, No. 6 forward, No. 1 player in Connecticut

Collegiate Stats: 5.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.7 apg, .397 FG/.273 3P/.697 FT (34 games)

How did she get to College Park?

Gillespie was a high school All-American and Connecticut’s Gatorade Player of the Year twice. She averaged a 22-6-4 line as a junior and 31-16-4 as a senior. And yet, her home-state school UConn didn’t have a spot for her, so Gillespie committed to Maryland over the likes of Tennessee and South Carolina.

Career highlight

Gillespie scored 15 points in her first college game last fall against UMass Lowell, then followed that up with 19 and 18 in her next two games. However, she only reached double figures twice more during the season.

2016-17 prospectus

In perhaps the most riveting development regarding the team this summer, Gillespie has switched jersey numbers to No. 15, which she wore in high school and keeps in her Twitter handle. Chloe Pavlech wore the number for the Terps last season, but she was a senior then, so Gillespie wore No. 1 for a year before changing back.

“I just felt like I always had really good luck with 15,” Gillespie told Testudo Times at media day. “It was kind of a personal thing. Everyone’s personal and real picky about their numbers, so when I got the chance to get it back, I said ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go back to what I know best.

“Hopefully, changing numbers helps me play better and be more confident.”

Gillespie is a really intriguing puzzle piece for this Maryland team. After playing primarily small forward last season, it’s expected that most of her minutes this year will be as a stretch-4 of sorts. This could mean fewer jump shots, which she struggled with as a freshman. The sophomore still has great upside, and if she takes another step or two towards that, it’ll be huge for the Terps.

What a dream season might look like

Gillespie’s shooting percentages all jump up from her freshman totals, and the minutes follow. She reclaims her starting spot and becomes another versatile scoring threat for an already-loaded Maryland squad.

Up next in the series

This former All-American is the daughter of a professional cricket player.

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