Sitting on the end of the bench in her all-black warm-ups isn’t quite what junior Eleanna Christinaki expected to be doing when she transferred to Maryland from Florida earlier this January. But, due to transfer rules the Greece native had to comply. Now gets her first on-court action with the Terps this Wednesday against Coppin State.
“She is a dynamic, competitive, scoring guard who is going to bring a vast amount of experience to our team,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said about Christinaki in January. “She has played at the highest level from a very young age. Her impact will be felt immediately,” Frese said.
The 6-foot guard averaged 17.6 points, which led the Gators, 4.7 rebounds and 3 assists during her last season at Florida.
Christinaki has managed to keep herself busy through the time off as in November she traveled to Europe to compete with the Greece national team in the FIBA world qualifier.
Christinaki played a decent role, managing to average 4.5 points in limited minutes, is one of the teams youngest members. Hopefully, the experience will translate on the floor for the Terps.
“Coach Frese inspired me from the first time that we met and I cannot wait to play for her,” Christinaki said in her initial statements on joining the team in January. “I love the team and how talented the players are. I am excited to be joining such a special group and university.”
But the Terps seem to be managing themselves just fine without Christinaki. They are in the midst of the longest winning streak of the season, having won their last eight.
Last game against Loyola (MD) they set a school record in assists in both the men’s and women’s programs and a Big Ten record in women’s basketball with 37 assists.
“We’re getting better each day and I’m excited to see the growth of our team,” senior Iesha Small said.
Small is one of six players on the Terps team that averages in double figures, which highlights Maryland’s balanced attack.
Coppin State, however, is not doing so well compared to the Terps domination as they are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak. The Eagles are 1-9 on the season and are 0-3 when playing Top 25 teams, losing by an average of 42 points per game.
They are indeed undefeated at home with their sole win coming on their home court in Baltimore. The Eagles do have hope behind center Chance Graham, who averages almost a double-double with 12.4 points and 8.7 rebounds.
However, Graham stands at only 5-foot 11-inches, which is shorter than 80% of the Maryland team and the Eagles one win came over a Mount St. Mary’s team that Maryland beat by a staggering 40 points, another victim of the balanced Terps’ attack.
“The team is making it easier for me to gain confidence and get more shots up,” guard Blair Watson said.
Christinaki will hope to feel the same confidence when she takes the floor for the first time this Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Baltimore.
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