The Maryland Womens Basketball team was chosen to represent the United States of America in this year’s 2017 World University Games. They are just the second Womens program that have been selected to do so. Coach Frese and a few of the players addressed the media Wednesday about the opportunity before them.
With the way the season ended last year, at the hands of Oregon in the Sweet 16. The graduating of Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones, the sudden departures of Destiny Slocum, Jeanna Stazzi, and Kiah Gillespie, left a lot of questions surrounding the Maryland program. The Terps rebounded by adding freshman guard Channise Lewis and are counting on those freshman that stayed from last year’s special class to make a jump and the now upperclassmen to step up and fill their new roles. This trip presents them with the opportunity to do so and has given them extra practice time that isn’t allowed to teams under normal circumstances. So a team that has to learn alot about themselves gets the chance to start that process much sooner.
As for the roster, it’s comprised of Maryland’s current players and two players that have already graduated. One being former Terp Malina Howard and the other former Spartan Tori Jankoska. Their veteran presence should definitely help what is a very young team adjust to the international rules and the adversity the team will face on the court.
Frese talked about the leadership of both Ieshia Small and Kristen Confroy, which is no surprise as they led by example last year. Obviously they have to be more vocal this season, but it seems they’ve embrace that role. Kaila Charles was the third player that she mentioned, that the sophomore has taken a big leap this summer. She’s now a team leader and by Frese’s words, an “alpha-dog” on this team. It’s great to see that one of the youngsters has already taken it upon themselves to seize that type of role.
Also a name that came up a bunch, freshman guard Channise Lewis. All three players that spoke to the media (Confroy, Charles, and Fraser) talked about how quickly Lewis has grasped the scheme and that she fits in. Maryland’s counting on players like her, Sarah Myers, Stephanie Jones, and Blair Watson to really step up this season. Fraser is almost a given in this regard as she flourished last season both as an understudy behind Brionna Jones and when on the floor with her. She’s a different type of player at center and teams will have to adjust to her face-up game.
All in all, it’s a great opportunity for Maryland and we’ll keep you updated as to how they fare in the tournament.