Maryland women’s basketball is ranked much lower than usual in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the 2017 season. The Terps have been a perennial top-10 team, but they check in at No. 17 this year.
Brenda Frese and her squad were already going to be charged with the task of finding a way to replace the production of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, who were drafted sixth and eighth, respectively, in last week’s WNBA Draft. The surprise triple departure of Kiah Gillespie, Jenna Staiti and Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association National Freshman of the Year Destiny Slocum make this a much bigger rebuild.
Kaila Charles, veterans Iesha Small and Kristen Confroy and mid-year transfer Eleanna Christinaki will have to shoulder the load for Maryland next season.
As for the rest of the top 25, Connecticut claims the top spot despite falling to Mississippi State in the national semifinals last season. The Huskies return the best roster in the nation and Geno Auriemma is still the head coach, so no surprise here.
Baylor and Big Ten foe Ohio State round out the top three. Baylor will have elite size down low, led by 6’7 Kalani Brown, while Ohio State returns Kelsey Mitchell, who should be one of the best players in the country as a senior.
Defending champion South Carolina slides in at No. 6; the Gamecocks will visit Maryland at the Xfinity Center in the front end of a home-and-home on Nov. 13. Mississippi State checks in at No. 9 and former ACC rival Duke, led by ex-Terp Lexie Brown, is No. 12. Michigan didn’t make the NCAA Tournament last season, but won the WNIT and have earned the No. 21 spot.
In other news
Three Maryland seniors were taken in the United Women’s Lacrosse League’s second-ever draft.
From our friends at Maryland Baseball Network, third baseman AJ Lee had a fantastic weekend against Penn State to cap off a big week.
On Sunday, Maryland football added a walk-on linebacker who’s the older brother of a 2017 signee.
The first weekend of the NBA playoffs is over. You may have missed some more nuanced plays, so here’s this gem from SB Nation.