Women’s Basketball Keeping Maryland’s March Madness Hope Alive

All eyes were focused on Maryland’s men’s basketball team as they waited for their chance to play another game of the season. When news arrived March 10 that the men’s season was over, the focused shift onto the women’s team who was awaiting their news as well.

“I don’t really care about what seed we are,” senior Ieshia Small stated according to the Baltimore Sun. “Because at the end of the day, people got to come out to play when they come out to play against Maryland,”

Relief and satisfaction filled the Xfinity Center box as the television announced that Maryland (25-7) will be the number five seed in the Kansas City, Mo., regional for the NCAA Tournament.  The Terps will challenge No. 12 seed Princeton (24-5) Friday at 12:30pm in Reynolds Coliseum in North Carolina, a team Maryland has already beaten twice.

The 2015 NCAA Tournament was the last time these two teams met, with Maryland defeating the Tigers in the second round 85-70.

“All we’ve talked about is whether we were going to be home or on the road,” said Coach Brenda Frese according to the Baltimore Sun.  “We’re fine and we’re prepared.  So, for us, it’s just playing Maryland basketball. For us to win and advance, we have to play Maryland basketball.  I know this team will be motivated to do that.”

This will be Maryland’s 26 appearance in the Tournament and eight straight NCAA Tournament bid. Out of the 16 years that Frese has been the head coach she has led the women’s team to eight sweet sixteens, six elite eights, three final fours, and a 2006 NCAA Title.

As Maryland head to their first NCAA Tournament road game since 2010, they have to fight their way against the Ivy League Champion to head straight into the second round.

Princeton’s Bella Alarie and Qalea Ismail are two people that the Terps should be cautious of as they battle to the next round. Alarie, the Ivy League player of the year, is leading the team with 13.4 points per game and also averaging nine rebounds per game as well. Although Ismail has been out for almost a year, she has returned stronger averaging 4.3 points with 11.9 minutes per game.

“I’d imagine they’re pretty sophisticated in their outlook on basketball and I’m sure they share the ball really well,” Senior guard Kristen Confroy said. “So, we’re just looking to go out there and play to our standard.”

If Maryland wins Friday, they will advance to the second round of the tournament and play the winner of the No. 4 seed North Carolina State and No. 13 seed Elon game, eventually reaching their biggest opponent No. 1 seed Mississippi State.