The women’s basketball team will look to start the season off right with a home opener against Albany on Friday night.
The Terps need a good start to the season as they will face the defending National Champions South Carolina on Monday and then six days later travel to Bristol to take on perennial powerhouse University of Connecticut.
Maryland will be trying to shake off the upset loss to a double digit seed in the NCAA Tournament last year to Oregon. Maryland had come into the tournament with an astounding 32-2 record, with Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Making it to the Sweet Sixteen in the tournament was still an accomplishment, it was a little of a disappointment going out the way they did.
The Terps also are going to have to deal with the loss of two All-Americans Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. Jones led the nation in field goal percentage the past two years and Walker-Kimbrough led the nation in three-point field goal percentage last year too.
Head coach Brenda Frese still looks to lead the Terps to success once again even with new leadership at the helm.
“Hard work has been put in ever since the summer and the experience we gained from Taiwan. But we’re really ready to go against the competition to see how we stack up.” Frese said.
Frese made the interesting decision this season to only field 10 girls on the roster and in their exhibition games ran an eight player rotation.
“Obviously only having ten players in terms of our depth, everybody knows they’re going to be counted on,” Freese said. “They have the responsibility to be ready to play.”
Even with the small roster, the Terps hold a lot of firepower. Maryland comes into this game ranked No. 15 in the nation and is led by standout sophomore Kaila Charles who was selected to the Preseason All-Big Ten team this season and is coming off a huge freshman stint where she averaged 9.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, which led her to a selection to the all Big Ten team as a freshman.
“I like challenges,” Charles said. … “Taking a bigger role won’t be hard.”
As Charles looks to provide some leadership on the court, off the court senior guard Kristen Confroy looks to wrangle in this rather young team.
“I think just recognizing that it is my fourth year of this and knowing what is expected and what’s going to make us successful this season,” Confroy said on leading the team. “Really portraying that to everybody else, especially our freshmen and our new players who are still learning the system.”
The Terps had success in their two exhibition games against Glenville State and Bowie State by a combined 110 points. Maryland’s stellar sophomores led the team’s early success in these games as Kalia Charles, Stephanie Jones and Blair Watson all eclipsed over 25 points.
Albany is coming of an American East title and a berth into the NCAA Tournament last season. Former Maryland assistant coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee, who was here during the Terps’ 2006 National Championship, is now at the helm for the Great Danes.
The Great Danes are led by senior guard Jessica Féquière who led the team in rebounding and was second in scoring last season which earned her all all conference second team honors. Féquière paired with fellow guard Mackenzie Trpcic who holds the freshman single season assist record at Albany, will be a tough test for Maryland’s young guards.
The Terps face off with the Great Danes tonight at 7 p.m. at home in the Xfinity Center.
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