Maryland was expected to beat Umass-Lowell yesterday and they did so handily. I thought it was great that Coach Frese called a timeout int he fourth quarter when the visiting team started to make a little run, or just have success period. Their confidence seemed to rise a bit and Frese is trying to get this team’s mindset in the right place not only for Conference play, but for them to achieve their goal of a National Championship this year. It struck me as a real “Uconn” type thing to do, classic Geno Auriemma moment to be giving your team a verbal lashing when they’re up by 30 or so. Yet, there’s a reason that Geno’s teams have had the success they’ve had. Those little moments, it’s how habits are formed. Great teams have great habits, no matter what the scoreboard may say. Again, that was a great moment from yesterday. Here are several other observations I made from yesterday’s game.
Chef SWK. The Junior guard was in the kitchen all first half and she cooked one heck of a meal. Scoring 15 of Maryland’s first 24 points while playing good defense and getting teammates involved. She had 20 first half points and 22 for the game on 8-of-13 from the floor, hit two of her three attempts from deep and was perfect from the line. Not to mention the level of thievery, Walker-Kimbrough was tied for a team-high five steals. All of those thefts were jumping the passing lane, she did a great job baiting the opponent throwing the pass. She’d trail her defender, but leave just enough room to accelerate and break on the ball like a seasoned defensive back.
Moseley the general. Brene had a great game, she came off the bench and played 26 minutes. The senior was exceptional, recording a double-double in the first game of the season. With starting point guard Chloe Pavlech struggling a bit offensively, Moseley did more than just pick up the slack. 24 points, 14 of which came in the second half. More impressive was her 10 assists, she did a great job moving the ball and setting up teammates. Quite the luxury to have off the bench, a very deep bench at that. She was also one of the few Terps who was calm when navigating that zone defense, making the right passes and finding teammates in gaps.
Leslie under the radar. Kiara didn’t shoot well, but she made up for it in many other ways. Her impact couldn’t be fully quantified by the box score, although her final line wasn’t bad at all. Leslie had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and five steals. Her versatility is one of the reason’s that Maryland is able to play three guards in their starting lineup.
Gillespie’s debut. In her first official collegiate contest, the frosh didn’t look too bad. There were definitely moments in which she looked like a youngster, things like body language or defending without fouling. Still, the ease at which the game seems to come to her is frightening. In Maryland’s slow start, is was the frosh who joined SWK in that opening run that created separation from Umass-Lowell. There’s a reason she starts, her versatility allows Maryland to have an advantage up front. She’s too quick for bigs and too big for guards. In 21 minutes she had 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block, and 2 steals. Still when looking at her skill set, it didn’t feel like an “impressive” debut, but rather a solid one. There are some freshman who would have loved to have that line, it’ll be fun watching her grow and get more acclimated to the collegiate level of play.
Deep group of bigs. I’ll probably mention this several times this season, but the depth the Terps have in the post is impressive. While Brionna Jones may be the most advanced in the back-to-the basket situations, the others bring many positives to the table. Jones struggled offensively to find her shot, missing several close ones, but she still pulled down nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Malina Howard also couldn’t find her shot, but she did a great job hitting the glass and moving the ball. Brianna Fraser played 17 minutes in her college debut and pulled down five boards to go with her four points. Aja Ellison got a little bit of playing time and left an impression, only got one rebound, but did a great job establishing position on the low block. Coach Frese certainly has options up front and it shows the team depth as well as 10 players received playing time yesterday.