Rodgers makes most of op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BYMIKE DE­FABO

Year Alyssa Thomas, ALL-ACC hon­or­able men­tion Lau­rin Mincy and fresh­man point guard Brene Mose­ley blos­som­ing, Rodgers saw her play­ing time dwin­dle to its low­est point in four sea­sons.

Rodgers said Frese no­ticed her act­ing “dis­tracted, a lit­tle bit dis­tant.”

“I was strug­gling a lit­tle bit with the new role and not play­ing as much. I had been con­cerned about it for a while,” Rodgers said. “[Frese] brought me in just to make sure that I hadn’t checked out.”

Frese as­sured Rodgers that although her min­utes had tailed off, her im­por­tance to the team had not. The coach re­minded her se­nior guard that her time would come.

“I was tee­ter­ing on whether or not I was even valu­able to this team any­more,” Rodgers said. “For [Frese] to come in and tell me that I was [valu­able] re­ally helped me to stay fo­cused.”

The re­ju­ve­nated Rodgers re­sponded with qual­ity work off the bench, in­clud­ing 10 min­utes, two re­bounds and an as­sist to help hand Duke its lone ACC loss.

As the games grew in sig­nif­i­cance, so, too, did Rodgers’ pres­ence. In the ACC tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship game against Ge­or­gia Tech, Rodgers em­ployed what has be­come her patented move — the back-to-back 3-pointer. She fin­ished with a sea­son-high 10 points,

shoot­ing 2 for 2 from the field and 4 for 4 from the foul line to help the Ter­rap­ins win the con­fer­ence ti­tle.

Rodgers has con­tin­ued to be key through the first two games in the NCAA tour­na­ment.

Against Navy, the young Terps looked jit­tery in the open­ing min­utes. It ap­peared as if fifth-ranked Mary­land (304) would fol­low the Duke men’s lead and be­come an­other No. 2-seeded ACC team to fall to a No. 15-seeded Pa­triot League team.

But with five min­utes re­main­ing in the first half, Rodgers sank back-to-back 3-point­ers, and Mose­ley hit a third to give Mary­land breath­ing room.

“I’m so proud of Kim,” Frese said af­ter the game. “It takes a self­less kid, a kid that’s a win­ner, to be able to ac­cept the role that she’s been given on this team. You see what she’s do­ing. She helped lead us to an ACC cham­pi­onship, and those threes to­day were timely.”

With Thomas in foul trou­ble in Mon­day’s sec­ond-round game against Louisville, Rodgers played a sea­son-high 22 min­utes. She scored six points but more im­por­tantly pro­vided solid de­fense, in­clud­ing a loose-ball re­bound with about 20 sec­onds left in the 72-68 nail-biter.

“A lot of times you don’t see what Kim does on a stat sheet,” Frese said af­ter the Terps de­feated the Car­di­nals. “But gosh, when she’s on the floor, what a dif­fer­ence she makes for us de­fen­sively.”

Mary­land will need Rodgers to con­tinue pro­vid­ing a spark off the bench when it faces Texas A&M in the round of 16 Sun­day in Raleigh, N.C. Rodgers said her per­for­mance in the Terps’ past three games has been a re­minder that “there’s a place for ev­ery­one to con­trib­ute.”

“When you’re not play­ing and a coach says, ‘there is a role for you on this team,’ some play­ers are like ‘what­ever’ be­cause you don’t see it right then,” Rodgers said. “But that re­ally hit it home for me. For us to win, ev­ery­body did have to be locked in and we had to be 12 strong.

“It makes me feel like all the times when I was pa­tient and I did the work be­hind the scenes, just com­ing in on off days to work out, it makes it all worth it.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.