Shyanne Sellers corralled a rebound early against Nebraska and immediately looked upcourt. She passed the midcourt logo and accelerated, knifing into a crowd of bodies in the paint before collecting her dribble and pushing up a right-handed floater that dropped through the net.
On the court with her were two seniors, Chloe Bibby and Katie Benzan, All-Big Ten first team guard Diamond Miller and the team’s leading scorer Angel Reese. Despite those names around the court, the freshman did not hesitate to go coast-to-coast for the layup.
That is the kind of measured aggressiveness that’s marked Sellers’ first year with Maryland women’s basketball. She is the only new regular rotation member for the Terps, but has struck a nice balance between fitting in with the returning Maryland players without falling into the trap of deferring too much.
“I think there’s nothing worse than someone that’s not confident in themselves,” Sellers said in a Jan. 24 interview. “When you overthink, that’s when turnovers come, when you make a bad pass, take a bad shot, but when you let the game come to you … everything starts flowing, everything starts unfolding for you.”
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Sellers shares the floor with some of the nation’s most talented players and holds her own. She’s third on the team in 3-point attempts and 3-point makes. That impact is not limited to scoring either — she’s also second in steals, third in assists and fourth in rebounds.
Her on-court numbers back up that impact. When she’s on the court, Maryland outscores its opponents by more than 24 points per 100 possessions.
“She’s a fun player that has a ton of energy when she plays,” coach Brenda Frese said. “You look at the [stats] and I mean, she can score, she gives assists, she rebounds. She really puts her stamp all over the game.”
Even though she’s the only new consistent rotation member, the other Terps have done a good job at keeping Sellers in the fold. Senior Channise Lewis played the same role as Sellers a season ago as the first guard off Frese’s bench to spell Benzan, Owusu or Miller, and has been integral to helping the freshman get up to speed.
“Channise is always in my ear, definitely like a big sister to me,” Sellers said before the Michigan State win. “Just giving me tips on what she sees on the bench and trying to make me a better overall point guard.”
Sellers has already shown clear improvement in defense and her pace. She said she would constantly try and play too fast, but she has already gotten better at taking an extra beat to gather herself and find a better option.
[Sellers fills in for Owusu, Maryland women’s basketball edges out Michigan State, 67-62]
That improvement has been rewarded, as Frese has continued to trust Sellers with immense responsibility.
When Katie Benzan couldn’t play against three top 10 teams, Sellers stepped into the starting lineup. In a game where Ashley Owusu sprained her ankle against Michigan State, Sellers stepped up with the top five in the next game against Nebraska and had 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“She can score when we need her to score and get a bucket, but she can also do so many other things for us,” Frese said. “She’s been able to put her stamp for this team.”
With Owusu’s status for the matchup against Wisconsin still unknown, Sellers will once again find herself in the starting group, but she isn’t going to be fazed by a role change.
“I’m not really into all the starting and stuff like that,” Sellers said on Jan. 24. “It’s not a really big deal for me because it is what it is and other people are ahead of me. But I mean it was definitely just a good time for me to just step up and play the role I need to, nothing really changed.”