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

Winning mostly eluded Maryland athletics as the calendar turned to March. Men’s lacrosse was handed its first loss of the season. Women’s basketball fell by 17 in its regular season finale. Men’s basketball blew a 16-point lead in a senior day defeat.

In this week’s newsletter, we’ll do our best to lift your spirits. We cover those losses and their impact, a bright spot emerging for Maryland men’s basketball, how baseball is using technology to improve pitching and more.

A Maryland baseball pitcher practices in using TrackMan technology at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on Feb. 21, 2024. (Sam Cohen/The Diamondback)

Maryland baseball continues impressive start

Maryland baseball won both of its three-game weekend sets to open 2024. But each time, Sunday losses kept the Terps from capturing a sweep.

This weekend, Maryland breezed to a pair of victories Friday and Saturday, then found itself down in the middle innings Sunday. Logan Berrier entered to relieve a struggling Joey McMannis in his first career start and tossed 3 ⅔ scoreless innings to halt Bryant’s offensive outburst. The Terps then found an offensive explosion of their own and used it to earn an 11-7 win over Bryant in the series finale.

Matt Swope’s squad is relying on a new piece of technology this season to help its pitchers. Maryland currently utilizes TrackMan, a Doppler radar system that provides insight into pitchers’ vertical and horizontal movement, spin rate and velocity to improve pitching. Last week, baseball reporter Michael Howes detailed what the device is, how it works and how it’s already helped the Terps.

Allie Kubek and Bri McDaniel during Maryland women’s basketball’s 79-63 win over Wisconsin on Feb. 29, 2024. (Jordan Budney/The Diamondback)

Maryland women’s basketball’s tournament push takes a tumble

The Terps won five of their last six games entering Sunday’s clash with No. 14 Indiana. But in a season of similar defeats, Maryland again lost by a large margin to a ranked opponent. The game was the latest to show the gap between Brenda Frese’s squad and the nation’s best. Maryland ended its regular season with a 71-54 loss

The Terps are still on the bubble of the NCAA tournament. A strong showing in this week’s Big Ten tournament will help their chances and mitigate the program’s worst regular season record since 2003.

Off the court, Maryland has seen a dip in its recruiting success. The Terps’ classes have consistently ranked among the best nationwide in the past decade, but the 2024 group ranks 15th. The 2023 class was seventh best. In 2022, Frese’s class was unranked.

The coach said “for most kids anymore, it’s not about winning,” and emphasized that recruits have shifting priorities. But Maryland’s on-court success — and Frese’s recruiting prowess — has waned in recent years.

Women’s basketball reporter Olivia Janik wrote about Frese’s assertions and why her blame may be misplaced.

DeShawn Harris-Smith passes the ball during Maryland men's basketball's 78-66 win against Iowa on Feb. 14, 2024. (Jordan Budney/The Diamondback)
DeShawn Harris-Smith passes the ball during Maryland men’s basketball’s 78-66 win against Iowa on Feb. 14, 2024. (Jordan Budney/The Diamondback)

A bright spot during Maryland men’s basketball’s disappointing season

Kevin Willard’s second season hasn’t gone how anyone hoped. Barring a miracle run in the Big Ten tournament, Maryland will miss the NCAA tournament for the third time in five seasons. Sunday’s 83-78 loss to Indiana, marred by a brutal second half collapse, in Jahmir Young, Donta Scott and others’ final games in Xfinity Center was a microcosm of those frustrations.

But in recent weeks, DeShawn Harris-Smith has finally emerged as the impact freshman Willard hoped he’d get earlier in the campaign. Harris-Smith entered Sunday’s loss averaging more than 10 points per game over the Terps’ previous five contests. He tallied 14 points in Wednesday’s loss to Northwestern after posting a career high 17 last month.

This stretch comes after the guard failed to eclipse 10 points in his previous eight games, a span where he averaged just 3.7 points per contest. Men’s basketball reporter Nicky Wolcott dove into Harris-Smith’s late-season breakout and what it means for the Terps’ future.

Best bits

Stat of the week

Maryland baseball is 9-3 through 12 games in Matt Swope’s first year at the helm. The Terps opened a campaign with a better record one time during Rob Vaughn’s six-year tenure.

Game to watch this week

The Big Ten women’s basketball tournament begins this week. Eighth-seeded Maryland opens play against Illinois on Thursday at 12:30 p.m ET.

CORRECTION: The Feb. 26 edition of The Diamondback Sports Digest misstated that Maryland baseball’s win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi was on Feb. 24. The game was on Feb. 23.