B10 Maryland Iowa Basketball

Maryland coach Brenda Frese, right, had to build a new supporting cast around guard Diamond Miller. Now, the Terps are set to host a first-round NCAA tournament game Friday.

COLLEGE PARK — Brenda Frese used the transfer portal to overhaul her roster.

The result is a Maryland team very much to the coach’s liking — a group that can press, force turnovers and score.

The second-seeded Terrapins open the women’s NCAA tournament on Friday against 15th-seeded Holy Cross, and what they lack in size, they can make up for with skill and athleticism. The winner of that game faces either seventh-seeded Arizona or 10th-seeded West Virginia in the second round.

Injuries and inconsistency plagued Maryland in 2021-22, and although the Terps ultimately reached the Sweet 16, a couple significant players transferred out after the season. Angel Reese became a first-team All-American this year at LSU, and Ashley Owusu went to Virginia Tech.

Frese reloaded with transfers Abby Meyers (Princeton), Lavender Briggs (Florida), Elisa Pinzan (South Florida) and Brinae Alexander (Vanderbilt). Meyers is the team’s second-leading scorer, and Briggs is shooting 44 percent from 3-point range.

“The transfer portal is, you know, a part of our game, and I think you can see over the last couple of years we’ve had a lot of success within the portal,” Frese said. “Our staff does a tremendous job kind of vetting through it. Where we need to know who the kid is and ... whether they fit our style of play. And that’s really important, being able to score the basketball, being able to run, getting out in our transition game, being able to rebound.”

Maryland’s group of newcomers has provided plenty of support for the team’s biggest star, second-team All-American Diamond Miller.

“It was kind of like, OK, back to the drawing board,” Miller said. “We got a new group of girls and let’s regroup. I mean, she’s the head coach and gets paid the way she does for situations like this because she knows how to always, like, recover.”

Holy Cross (24-8) beat Boston University to win the Patriot League’s automatic bid. Preparing for the pressure that Maryland (25-6) applies isn’t easy.

“You look back to our championship game, and that’s how BU came back into the game,” Holy Cross coach Maureen Magarity said. “We were able to break the press, but then how we got into our offense, we really kind of didn’t really get into a flow in that second half.”

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