After losing to Iowa in the Big Ten tournament semifinals, Maryland women’s basketball players were asked about seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

“I’ve always been lower than a 10 seed, so I’ll take anything,” Abby Meyers said. “I’m not really paying attention to that.”

“We are,” Diamond Miller retorted just seconds later. “We are.”

Miller has never been on a team lower than a four-seed in the NCAA tournament in her collegiate career. Meyers, meanwhile, has never been on a team higher than the 11-seed prior to transferring to Maryland. The lighthearted exchange between players represented the varying levels of tournament experience on the team.

Sunday, Maryland received the No. 2 seed in Greenville One, matching it in the same region as the top team in the field, No. 1 South Carolina. As a top-four seed, the Terps will host the first two rounds in College Park. Should they beat No. 15 Holy Cross, they will face the winner of No. 7 Arizona and No. 10 West Virginia.

[Maryland women’s basketball earns No. 2 seed in NCAA tournament]

Maryland has been a staple in the national tournament ever since coach Brenda Frese arrived ahead of the 2002-2003 season. The Terps have appeared in the tournament 18 times under Frese and have earned a top-four seed 15 times. But after several transfers and graduations, Frese had to fold in nine new players at this season’s onset.

“This day never gets old,” Frese said of Selection Sunday. “This isn’t just a given. You have to earn it every year, so just a pretty cool moment to be able to watch the reaction.”

Maryland has a strong track record of tournament appearances under Frese. The two-time Associated Press National Coach of the Year has led the Terps to 10 Sweet Sixteens, six Elite Eights, three Final Fours and the 2006 NCAA Championship.

That history of success appealed to Florida transfer Lavender Briggs, who said she’s always wanted to be in the tournament.

“There’s no point in going to college if you don’t get a chance to try for a national championship,” Briggs said. “That’s everybody’s goal, and that was my main goal.”

[Despite loss to Iowa, Maryland women’s basketball remains optimistic for NCAA tournament]

Florida made the tournament last year as a 10-seed, but Briggs had already transferred to Maryland. Briggs will get her first chance to play in March after an injury prevented her from suiting up for the Terps last season, and she’s not the only one.

Brinae Alexander never eclipsed four conference wins in a season during her time at Vanderbilt. Meyers has been an 11- and 12-seed for Princeton, advancing out of the first round once. Elisa Pinzan was an eight- and nine-seed at USF, winning on the opening day in 2021

Allie Kubek never made the tournament with Towson, and the Terps have four freshmen experiencing March Madness for the first time.

“I don’t think I really realized that … there’s a few people who really haven’t …  been to a tournament or haven’t had the joy of seeing their names and their team name on the screen on Selection Sunday,” Faith Masonius said. “It’s exciting to be able to see the joy that they’re having and being able to celebrate that and kind of wear it with pride.” 

Both Princeton and South Florida made the tournament this year as a 10-seed and 8-seed, respectively. But for Meyers and Pinzan, playing for a high seed brings a new form of joy.

“It’s very, very exciting,” Pinzan said. “Obviously, never been a top seed. Seed number two is very high but you’ve still gotta take one game at a time.”

But everything about March is a novelty for Alexander, who had limited knowledge about the tournament before learning about net ranking, AP Poll seeding and strength of schedule.

“I’m just looking forward to the experience of being in the NCAA tournament altogether,” Alexander said. “Just to see what it’s like to be in the tournament as a player.”