One of the unspoken traditions in College Basketball, whether on the Womens or Mens side is that of exhibition games. Rarely are they between two team sof similar ilk or talent base. That is usually reserved for a few non-conference matchups and conference play. With that now said, the Maryland Terrapins Womens Basketball team for the 2017-2018 season looks completely different from the version a year prior. The staples of “Defend, Rebound, and Run” are now a bit more emphasized due to this team’s lack of size. The Terps hosted the Glenville State Pioneers today in their firsst exhibition contest, Coach Frese truly does a great job of including local teams in Maryland’s exhibition and non-conference schedule. Maryland to no one’s shock, took care of buisness and beat the Pioneers 130-61.
Six Terrapins scored in double figures, Stephanie Jones and Kaila Charles scored 27 points a piece. Leading Glenville was Julie Bishop with 12 points. The Terps got out to a fast start courtesy of an 18-4 run and never looked back, using their speed to cause all types of trouble. Glenville didn’t quit, starting the third quarter with a flurry that forced a Maryland timeout. They also hit more three pointers in the second half, scoring 27 points in the third quarter and 45 points in the half total. The Terps got some good practice against breaking the press and there’s nothing like in game reps. They struggled against it initially, before doing the right thing and letting the ball do the work.
Iesha Small and Brianna Fraser had solid games as well, with Small barely missing out on a double-double (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Fraser recording her first double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) of the year. There were negatives in this contest, the Terps definitely turned the ball over too much. Coach Frese shared after the game that her team is still working towards the type of conditioning they expect out of them this season. This isn’t to say they are out of shape, but this year’s team is going to have to play faster than those of previous years and that requires an even further level of conditioning.
Their next exhibition game is Friday when they host Bowie State
There’s not too much to take from one game, as a bigger sample size is needed. Still, the Terrapins showed a few things that fans can expect out of them this season which is how they plan to use their personnel.
Stephanie Jones: The sophomore obviously has a few qualities of her All-American sister’s game, both physically and in her game. But, she’s a much different type of player than Brionna. She’s a 6’2 forward that has the ability to play with her back to the basket and face-up, she shares the affinity of her older sister for getting after it on the glass. Against Glenville she created a ton of problems on both ends with her size and speed, like her fellow sophomores her confidence is on another level this season.
Blair Watson: She had a good exhibition performance last season as well, but this year is different and she knows it. Maryland is going to need every bit of her well-rounded game and she had that on full display against Glenville. She only connected on one of her three attempts from deep, but more importantly hitting the glass and playing defense. Her blend of size, speed, and length allows Maryland to switch everything at times and her ability to put the ball on the floor put added stress on the defense. She finished the game with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.
Kaila: We heard several times this summer and when the team got back from Taiwan about the Sophomore evolving, Coach Frese calling her a “go-to” player. The Maryland native looked very comfortable out there and seemed to be actively hunting for her shot. During a couple of stretches when Maryland was off, she was the one that ended the drought to get them back on track. She was very active on the defensive end and that activity led her to score a good chunk of her points in transition. Charles finished the game with 27 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
Pace. We know that one of Maryland’s staples is running, yet against Glenville, Maryland hit another gear. Due to the team being smaller, the ball doesn’t have to hit a guard’s hand in the traditional sense beore pushing it up court. Brianna Fraser had a few full court forays going coast-to-coast and finishing after getting rebounds. Watson, Charles, and other guards have no issue pushing it up the floor either. That pace kept Maryland from having too many half court sets, so we’ll have to wait and see who tye are in that regard. It was a good glimpse of how the Terps plan to play this season.
Versatility. This was on full display all game long, on both ends of the floor. This is going to be a key this season along with their speed, the cross matches they’ll naturally create for most teams will be an advantage at different points every game.