All preseason, questions were asked about Maryland women basketball’s lack of a star. The Terps lost over 50 percent of their scoring production, part of the reason a team whose season ended in the Elite Eight the prior year was not ranked in the preseason top ten.
But players and coaches alike emphasized that while this year’s team lacked the star power others in the Big Ten had, the roster was filled with a variety of scorers. Monday night was a first look at how that depth might come to fruition in the 2023-24 season.
All 10 players that touched the court for No. 14 Maryland scored as the Terps led wire to wire against Harvard, coasting to a 98-75 season opening win.
Frese made good on her promise that Maryland had more depth this year early. Sophomores Bri McDaniel and Emma Chardon checked in within the first five minutes, along with junior Allie Kubek.
Nine different Terps scored in the first quarter and Frese played seven different lineups in the opening frame. Maryland tried a variety of different five-player combinations throughout its season-opener despite Frese sticking with a consistent seven-player rotation last season.
The bench unit was strong and racked up 34 points throughout the game. The Terps’ offense showed a couple high-low looks with Kubek catching and finishing on the inside, including a lineup highlighting both senior forward Faith Masonius and the Towson transfer.
“She’s probably had a total of five practices under her belt, just given her injury. … It’s mind-boggling what she’s doing right now,” Frese said of Kubek. “I expect her minutes to definitely go up.”
No matter who Maryland brought in, the Terps shot well. Frese boasted four shooters on the floor at almost all times, which led to her squad shooting a strong 47.4 percent clip from deep.
Nobody shot it better than senior Brinae Alexander, though. The Vanderbilt transfer poured in five triples, and finished the game shooting 62 percent from three.
Harvard managed to compete with the Terps on the glass despite a significant size advantage. The Crimson secured 25 offensive rebounds Monday, including 10 in the first half — in part because of their poor shooting.
“We definitely noticed that they were getting a lot of [offensive] rebounds, but we definitely have to work on boxing out,” senior Jakia Brown-Turner said.
Frese hoped to see an improvement in the category as last season, the Terps had a rebounding rate of 66 percent — a number that was well below the Big Ten average of 70.5 percent.
Harvard’s proficiency on the board helped it keep pace with Maryland after a torrid first quarter, but Maryland still held a convincing 52-34 lead at halftime.
The second half was more of the same, as Maryland consistently ran in transition, clamped down on Harvard’s inside attack and forced the Crimson to take contested threes. Star junior Shyanne Sellers finished the game one point off her career high, dropping 25 in her first game as the Terps’ offensive focal point.
“I rather have gotten ten assists than my career high [in points] to be honest,” Sellers joked.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Terps held an advantage in shooting percentages, turnovers, transition points and, along with a variety of other stats, on the final scoreboard. The Terps recorded their highest scoring total in an opening game since 2019, when they scored 119 against Wagner.
The new-look Terps will now face the same challenge they did last year in their second game of the season — an early-season top-15 matchup against No. 6 South Carolina.