The Washington Post

Terps are No. 2 seed and will host on first weekend again


Abby Meyers admitted to having butterflie­s as the NCAA selection show began Sunday. Her Maryland Terrapins were in no danger of missing the tournament; the Terps’ seeding and location were the only unknowns. Still, this is why the Princeton graduate transferre­d to College Park for her final year.

“I always have butterflie­s before selection show, and I still had them again, even though we’re a really high seed,” the senior from Potomac said. “It’s definitely exciting. This is why I came to Maryland: to be a 2 seed or higher, to have the opportunit­y to play at home in front of my family for the first two rounds. I’m just excited. It’s my last dance. I’m going to make it count.”

The sustained success of Maryland’s program continued as the Terps were awarded a No. 2 seed in the Greenville (S.C.) Region of the NCAA tournament. They will face No. 15 seed Holy Cross on Friday. Arizona, the No. 7 seed, and 10th-seeded West Virginia round out the College Park foursome.

Maryland has reached the NCAA tournament 18 times in 21 seasons under Coach Brenda Frese. The Terps will host on the opening weekend for the 12th time in the past 16 years. Making that run even more impressive is the fact that San Antonio hosted the entire tournament in 2021 because of the pandemic — Maryland was a No. 2 seed — and there was no tournament in 2020. That means Maryland has hosted the first two rounds when held on campuses in 12 of the past 14 seasons.

“I definitely learned that every game the competitio­n is there,” Terps guard Diamond Miller said of past NCAA tournament­s. “Especially with new faces — you’ve never played these teams before. You can’t sleep on nobody because people can get upset, and you don’t want to be that team to get upset.”

Also in Maryland’s region: South Carolina, the No. 1 overall seed; No. 3 seed Notre Dame; and No. 4 UCLA. Maryland defeated Notre Dame on the road, 74-72, and lost to South Carolina at home, 81-56, in the second game of the season.

This is the sixth time Maryland has been a No. 2 seed under Frese. That’s the same seed the Terps held when they won the 2006 national championsh­ip. This season has been some of the coach’s best work: The Terps were No. 17 in the Associated Press preseason poll and were predicted to finish fourth in the Big Ten by the media and the coaches. Maryland (25-6) finished tied for second in the Big Ten with Iowa and is ranked No. 6 in the nation. Five of the top six scorers from the 2021-22 team, including national player of the year candidate Angel Reese, departed, and the Terps have four transfers in their rotation.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Frese said. “When you look at nine new players that had to come in and acclimate from vets to freshmen and to have the kind of season that they’ve had both in the nonconfere­nce, in conference, and then to ultimately be hosting at home and be a 2 seed is pretty remarkable.

“March Madness — you win, you advance; you lose, you go home. I’ve been on both sides of it when you host.”

Maryland went into the postseason on a six-game winning streak and had won 11 of 12. The Terps earned a double bye in the Big Ten tournament and beat Illinois in the quarterfin­als. They went back and forth with Iowa in the semifinals before losing to the eventual champs, 89-84.

Maryland has seven wins over ranked clubs and four against top-10 teams after playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Rankings website Warrennola­ ranks the Terps seventh in strength of schedule. The Massey Ratings give Maryland the No. 2 strength of schedule in the nation.

The Terps are led by Miller, a first-team all-big Ten guard who is averaging 19.7 points (third in the conference), 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks. Her 2.9 assists are third on the team. Meyers, the 2022 Ivy League player of the year, is second on the team at 14.5 points, and sophomore Shyanne Sellers averages 13.8 points and was named to the all-big Ten defensive team. Meyers and Sellers were named second-team all-conference by the coaches. The Terps got major bench contributi­ons down the stretch from Brinae Alexander, Lavender Briggs and Bri Mcdaniel.

Senior Faith Masonius has never been anything lower than a No. 4 seed during her time at Maryland. She recently thought about those new teammates who haven’t had that level of success at other programs.

“We were talking a few weeks ago, and they’re like, ‘ This is our first NCAA tournament, our first selection show,’ ” Masonius said. “It never really processed [for me]. It kind of put it in perspectiv­e — you can’t take these nights for granted . . . because not everybody is experienci­ng those types of things.

“I’m very happy for them. This is why they came to Maryland.”

 ?? JONATHAN NEWTON/THE WASHINGTON POST ?? Brenda Frese and her players cheer after being announced as a No. 2 seed, their sixth time in that spot during her tenure in College Park.
JONATHAN NEWTON/THE WASHINGTON POST Brenda Frese and her players cheer after being announced as a No. 2 seed, their sixth time in that spot during her tenure in College Park.

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