By Jack White
For The Diamondback
Maryland women’s basketball is united in optimism while adjusting to a new approach, given the drastic changes brought on by COVID-19.
The Big Ten was the first Power Five conference to opt out of participating in sports for fall 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, though it reversed course last week on playing football.
After marching through the shortened 2019-20 season to a 28-4 record, the Terps plan on respecting all coronavirus policies that have been implemented across the Big Ten. However, each member of the team is determined not to let the virus disrupt their preparation for a potential upcoming season.
“We’ve all kind of learned through COVID, you’re gonna have to be flexible,” coach Brenda Frese said. “Coaches usually aren’t very patient … but I think it’s forced all of us to kind of adapt.”
The struggles of balancing life for a Division I athlete are difficult enough, and in some respects, COVID-19 has made it harder. Now, each player is having to not only excel academically through virtual classes but also adjust to being an athlete from a social distance.
The average day for a women’s basketball player is often hectic: class, practice, exercise, dinner, homework, shower, sleep and repeat the next day.
[13 Maryland teams resume practices after COVID-19 outbreak among athletes]
Now, that routine has changed.
“Now it’s like I wake up, I don’t have to go anywhere. I can’t go anywhere,” guard Chloe Bibby said.
And, in a state of uncertainty, the Terps are trying to find ways to stay occupied. For many, that means trying new things and adjusting to a rare spell of boredom.
“It was hard to just be home, be in a different environment and still maintain focus on getting ready for the season,” guard Faith Masonius said.
Basketball is still an outlet for Masonius, helping her stay motivated and mentally sharp. But she also encouraged herself to get involved in other stress-relieving activities, such as cooking and painting.
And although the Terps are isolated, Frese has been impressed with her squad.
“They’ve shown their true colors to who they are,” Frese said.
They are being both smart and responsible, aided by remaining within the “basketball bubble,” according to Frese.
[“Really grateful”: Despite early end to year, Brenda Frese is proud of Maryland basketball]
And while social distancing has been a tenet of Maryland’s offseason efforts, they’ve still found a way to keep their team chemistry intact.
“It’s nice because we always check on each other and make sure … we’re happy, we’re sane, we’re doing well,” guard Katie Benzan said.
Although various elements are out of their control, each athlete can control their actions. In the long term, behaving accordingly under the coronavirus guidelines is in the best interest of the players’ health.
So the Terps are staying distanced on the court, while encouraging mind and body wellness off of it. It’s all they can do for the time being.
But that’s alright with them.