A new-look Terps team is ready for another national championship quest.
“This is always my favorite time of year, just the unknowns,” said head coach Brenda Frese.
The biggest unknown for Frese is how she replaces some rather big names. Graduated and gone to the WNBA are All-Americans Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Havre de Grace’s Brionna Jones. National Freshman of the Year Destiny Slocum transferred to Oregon State. That’s some serious star power to replace for the defending Big Ten Tournament Champs.
“Brionna Jones cleaning us up, making us look good even with missed shots or rebounding. Obviously that instant offense with her on the block and Shatori from the perimeter,” said Frese about what her team will miss from the duo.
“We’re going to miss Bri’s presence in the paint, Shatori’s knock-down jumper and Destiny’s IQ on the court,” said sophomore guard Kaila Charles. “But, that’s nothing that we haven’t been working to make up for.”
Charles is expected to do much of the making up. She was selected to the preseason All-Big Ten team.
“I’ve definitely been working on my midrange, trying to extend my range so I can be a shooter as well as driving to the basket,” said Charles.
“Kaila is one of our dominant leaders,” added Frese. “She wants the ball. She wants the pressure. You see how explosive she is. She’s a matchup nightmare.”
The Terps are picked to finish second in the Big Ten this season. It’s the first time since joining the conference they aren’t projected to win it. Ohio State has unseated Maryland as the favorites.
“I’m proud of the fact that you can lose two All-Americans to the pros and your Big Ten Freshman of the year and National Player of the Year and still be selected second,” said Frese with a smile.
“It does take a little bit of the target off of our back, but in terms of how we approach each game and each practice, nothing really changes,” said senior guard Kristen Confroy.
The Terps take the floor for the first time this season on Sunday when they host Glenville State for an exhibition game at noon. They open the regular season on Friday, November 10 at home against Albany.