The Maryland Terrapins had a successful business trip to Indianapolis this weekend, winning three games to end the weekend as Big Ten Champs. It was the second time for their current crop of Seniors, the last tournament title coming when they were freshmen. Kaila Charles, Stephanie Jones, Blair Watson and Sara Vujacic got to end Conference play the right way with the 82-65 victory over Ohio State.
So much has changed for Charles, Jones and Watson. They are the last members of a very heralded freshman class in 2016, they’ve been through a lot since that season. They’ve been to the Tournament title game twice since then in 2018 and 2019, which resulted in two losses. This may of been the first year since their freshman season where they all got to play their natural positions thanks to the influx of talent of the last two recruiting classes.
The difference this year is the balance Maryland has, the Seniors have a good mix of underclassmen with them and that shown throughout the tournament.
Ashley Owusu made a statement with her play, winning Most Outstanding Player after this three game stretch. She had 17 points and 11 assists in the Championship game, Diamond Miller also stepped up providing big minutes during the title run as well, leading the team in scoring during their semifinals win over Indiana with 15 points. Taylor Mikesell has regained that stroke of hers from beyond the arc, making teams pay for losing her in the halfcourt and in transition. The sharpshooting guard scored 22 points in the quarterfinals and continued to provide momentum changing triples
Stephanie Jones was a model of consistency, with 18 points and 10 rebounds. However, it was their defense that stood out during the tournament. There was a moment in every game when Maryland separated and they did so by stringing together stops on the defensive end of the floor. Once they’re in transition it’s hard to slow them down.
Kaila Charles didn’t have the level of production she’s used to, but it was great to see her teammates have her back. Her intensity, along with her fellow Seniors could be felt through the screen. She’ll have opportunities to step up in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland will find out where they are seeded a week from now on Selection Monday.