Shyanne Sellers didn’t think the email was real at first.

The junior doesn’t usually race to check her inbox, but a message including the phrase “Team U.S.A 3×3” seized her attention. Upon further examination, Sellers realized the email — an invitation to compete in China with the U.S. women’s under-21 team — was legitimate.

“Oh God, they’re asking me to go all the way to China,” Sellers said. “I’ve been out the country, but like, not that far. So it was just like a really … surreal experience for me.”

Sellers emerged last year as a starter, averaging 13.9 points per game. But the departures of Diamond Miller, Abby Meyers and Elisa Pinzan — all primary ballhandlers — charged Sellers with becoming Maryland women’s basketball’s lead offensive player.

Frese said Sellers will have a huge responsibility on her shoulders, but the increased role isn’t a burden on the junior. It’s one she’s been asking for since she came to College Park.

“[We’re] asking her to really have to do it all in terms of a point guard — scoring, defending, running the team,” Frese said. “She’s more than capable.”

Sellers’ experience with the national team helped prepare her to fill the void atop the Terps’ depth chart.

Her desire to prove herself dates back to her youth. At 5 years old, she constantly tried to show she could get the ball up to the rim, her mother Kym said. The youngest of four sisters, Sellers always had to fight for her place on the court.

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Sellers always played against older opponents at the youth basketball level, her mother said.

She did so again in preparation for the 3×3 tournament. On her first day of training camp, Sellers immediately impressed national team coach Nick LoGalbo in a scrimmage against a squad including professionals, including former Washington Mystic Linnae Harper.

LoGalbo recalled a moment when Sellers forced a stop before driving straight to the rim to score through contact.

“Alright, we got a dog here,” he thought.

In 3×3, field goals inside the arc count for one point and scores outside of it count for two. Teams play to 21 points or for 10 minutes — whichever comes first — with one substitute.

Coaches aren’t allowed on the sidelines during games, placing more responsibility on the players. Sellers was “locked in” on the team’s gameplan, LoGalbo said. She was the team’s best at attacking the rim for layups or kickout passes, he added.

Sellers played 10 of the 16 games for Team USA in the U21 Nations League, scoring 43 points. Her team was undefeated when she played. Later in the summer, Sellers traveled to Canada and Hungary with the U24 team in the 2023 International Basketball Federation 3×3 Women’s Series.

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Sellers joins a long list of Terps — including Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Marissa Coleman — who played for Team USA while at Maryland.

“It’s something that we really reinforce. We want them to play for their country,” Frese said. “I think Maryland prepares you for it, through our development and the ability to put our players on a national stage to be seen.”

Frese has already seen how playing internationally enhanced Sellers’ abilities in Maryland’s preseason practices. The guard displays a new level of maturity, the coach said.

In Maryland’s first exhibition game, Sellers tallied 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds. She spent the majority of her time on the court as the team’s point guard and offensive fulcrum.

Sellers flashed her offensive capabilities in key moments last season — making a buzzer-beating three-pointer at Purdue, scoring 10 of Maryland’s 16 first-quarter points against then-No. 7 Notre Dame and erupting for 26 points against then-No. 6 Iowa.

Those glimpses represented the improvement she made before and during her sophomore season. For the Terps to continue their success, she’ll need to take another leap and make those moments a regularity.