Welcome to The Diamondback Sports Digest. Every week, we send you a rundown of the latest Maryland athletics news.

To those on the outside, halftime intermissions may seem too long. But to coach Brenda Frese, they aren’t long enough. One of our reporters recently observed Maryland women’s basketball’s halftime locker room routine during the Terps’ win over Niagara. 

What goes on during that brief break? We’ll take you inside Maryland’s halftime meeting in our last newsletter of the semester, from the strategies to the snacks. We’ll also discuss how two local twins became Maryland football commits, a Terps fan’s unrelenting devotion and more.

Coach Brenda Frese talks to Maryland women’s basketball before their 114-44 win over Niagara on Nov. 29, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Chris Lyons)

What actually happens at halftime?

Lavender Briggs and Jakia Brown-Turner agreed: Maryland was surrendering too many rebounds to Niagara, a team the Terps knew they had a size advantage on. That was first on the Maryland women’s basketball’s agenda when the team gathered for halftime on Nov. 30. 

Frese and assistant coaches then entered the locker room each halftime after the players talked for five minutes, as they always do. The coaches and players usually agree on what to fix when they reconvene after time on their own. This game was no different.

As Frese laid out her plan, Hawa Doumbouya snacked on Cheez-It crackers, Bri McDaniel ate applesauce and everyone shared Gatorade, refueling for another 20 minutes of game time. After a brisk 15 minutes, the Terps reemerged ready to complete a dominant victory.

Women’s basketball reporter Sam Jane was a fly on the wall during the Terps’ halftime discussion during their win over the Purple Eagles last month. Here’s what he saw.

(Photo courtesy of Spalding Athletics)

Twins fulfill a lifelong dream with commitment to Maryland football

Keyshawn and Keion Flowers committed to the Terps together last June, Keyshawn as a three-star scholarship recruit and Keion as a preferred walk-on. Keyshawn skyrocketed up recruiting rankings after a stellar junior season at Archbishop Spalding. Keion failed to garner similar attention. 

Keyshawn spurned offers from Alabama, USC and Notre Dame to stay home with his brother, upholding an agreement to never leave each other behind the pair made when they were young.

“I see two brothers who are happy for each other, who hurt for each other when things aren’t going well,” Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt said. “Those two dudes are really all in on each other’s lives and their future.”

Recruiting reporter Harrison Rich has more on the Flowers twins’ path to Maryland.

(Photo courtesy of Kris Santos)

Despite a seven-hour trip, this Maryland football fan made it to every home game

Kris Santos left his Yorktown, Virginia, home early most Saturdays this fall, sometimes before sunrise. He made the long trek to College Park to watch his Terps, from the beatdown of Charlotte during a downpour to the close loss to Michigan on his birthday.

Santos is a part of a larger community of Maryland fans who flock to SECU Stadium from similar and further distances. The Terps boasted the third highest attendance improvement in college football this season.

“People need to understand it kinda starts with the fans,” Santos said. “The team’s not gonna be great unless fans start coming out and paying a few bucks.”

Team staff credit discounted season ticket packages and a 130 percent increase in the marketing department’s advertising budget, which allowed for more aggressive campaigns. Read my story for more on Santos’ fierce fandom and how the team’s initiatives to pack home games paid off.

Best bits

  • Maryland men’s basketball won its lone game this week, a 81-75 overtime victory against Penn State on Wednesday. The Terps leaned on Jahmir Young and Julian Reese, who combined for 52 points in the win, but they may be relying on their stars too much as they search for an offensive identity.
  • The Diamondback’s photo staff was on the sidelines for nearly every football game this fall. Take a look at the moments their lens’ captured best.
  • Women’s lacrosse announced its 2024 schedule Wednesday. The Terps will open play in February in the newly renovated Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse Complex.
  • Maryland wrestling’s nonconference schedule has proven difficult, and the Terps are hoping for more consistency from their veterans.

Stat of the week

Maryland football’s 26.24 percent attendance improvement from 2022 was third-best among Football Bowl Subdivision teams and second best among Power Five squads. Only Houston had a higher increase in its first season in the Big 12.

Quote of the week

“Just looking at our numbers, there’s really no joy right now,” coach Kevin Willard said after Maryland men’s basketball’s narrow victory over Penn State on Wednesday.