On paper, Maryland’s matchup with Uganda was lopsided. On the court, the margin of victory was even larger.
Opening up its run in the 2017 World University Games with a bang, Brenda Frese’s Team USA defeated Team Uganda 121-34.
The victory was expected, but the impact from a few players was not. My takeaways:
- Last year’s freshman are now better and more experienced
Five freshmen saw solid playing time last season for the Terps, but only three are left with the program after Destiny Slocum and Jenna Staiti transferred away in May. However, the three remaining players from Frese’s 2016 recruiting class (Sarah Myers, Blair Watson and Stephanie Jones) should be able to increase production this season.
Watson led the Terps with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting in a game that tipped off in Taipei at 12:30 a.m. eastern time. She also converted four of seven attempts from 3-point range and collected seven rebounds. Watson could be a prime candidate to replace Shatori Walker-Kimbrough in the starting lineup if she can continue this kind of production.
Myers scored only six points against Uganda, but made her presence felt in other ways. The point guard dished out five assists and grabbed seven rebounds while playing the shutdown defense that got her key minutes in the Big Ten Tournament last season.
Jones has quite the name to live up to after watching her sister Brionna dominate the ACC and Big Ten for four years, but she is off to a good start. After seeing workload continuously increase over the second half of the 2016-17 season, Jones had a good showing against Uganda. She recorded the game’s only double-double — dropping 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting and pulling in 10 rebounds.
- Brenda Frese is definitely happy to have Tori Jankoska playing for her instead of against her
At Michigan State for the last four seasons, Tori Jankoska was one of the best players in the Big Ten and always performed well against Maryland. She scored 54 points in two matchups against the Terps last season.
Luckily for Frese and the Terps, Jankoska is playing alongside them for Team USA this summer, and her debut was impressive. She scored 16 points on just 11 shots and dished out eight assists, showing why she has been one of the most dangerous players in the country for the last four seasons.
- The Terps have enough talent to replace Destiny Slocum’s production
After her transfer to Oregon State, Destiny Slocum’s 11.5 points per game will be tough to replace, but Maryland has the pieces in place to do so. Myers can play tough minutes, and Kaila Charles, who scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, will now have the chance to thrive offensively.
Maryland also added Channise Lewis, the lone member of its 2017 recruiting class, and she showed what she could do Monday morning. Lewis tallied 10 points and four assists in just over 17 minutes. With senior Ieshia Small (10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) also leading the team from the point guard position, the Terps shouldn’t lose a step this season.
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