Maryland handles Harvard in season opener

Shyanne Sellers strode out to half-court, sporting her trademark goggles and headband, and settled in at the middle of the Maryland logo as the No. 14 Terrapins awaited the tip-off to their 2023-24 season. The Maryland guard wasn’t lost — she was getting ready for the jump ball.

At 6-foot-2, Sellers is a big guard, but the moment offered an immediate glimpse into some of the ways this new-look Maryland team will play this season — relying on the versatility of an undersized roster to take a committee approach to, well, just about everything.

Sellers, the Terps’ leading returning scorer, posted a game-high 25 points as Maryland never trailed against Harvard and cruised to a 98-75 season-opening win at Xfinity Center on Monday night.

After being named second team all-Big Ten and selected to the all-defensive team last season, Sellers is expected to carry an even bigger role this time because the Terps lost two WNBA first-round picks in Diamond Miller (No. 2) and Abby Meyers (No. 11). She will have point guard and scoring responsibilities.

Four years later, Jakie Brown-Turner makes her way home to Maryland

Against the Crimson, the scoring was spread out — nine players had points by halftime as Maryland sprinted out to a 52-34 lead. But Sellers, who laughed afterward about being asked to take the opening jump ball, did a little bit of everything, filling the stat sheet with seven assists and four rebounds. She fell just one point short of her career high.

“It was just great playing with this team,” Sellers said. “Obviously, you see that we have great chemistry on the court. I’m not going to go outside of myself and try to fill the shoes for Diamond and Abby. I’m going to play my game. I’m just going to elevate my game and not change it up too much.”

Maryland never trailed and closed the first quarter on a 16-3 run to take command. The Terps, however, outscored the Crimson (0-1) by just three points in the final three quarters. They finished the game shooting 55.2 percent from the field but turned the ball over 18 times. Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said it’s a “work in progress” to understand how to put teams away.

Brinae Alexander made five three-pointers en route to 15 points, and Jakia Brown-Turner finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four steals. Redshirt sophomore Emma Chardon scored a career-high 10 points in her first game since she tore her meniscus in the 2022-23 opener.

Women’s basketball just had a moment. Now it’s ready for an encore.

Harmoni Turner led Harvard with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Lola Mullaney scored 17. Freshman Mary Hollensteiner, from Bethesda, scored her lone points off a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

“We set the tone from the tip,” Frese said. “First quarter, I thought we really displayed our dominance and then in the third quarter as well. A lot of great things you saw as we’re working through the rotations and just the depth that we have.

“I thought that we could play a lot harder ball on both ends of the floor. Defensively as well as getting up and down in transition. Nice to kind of be able to see that balanced attack from scoring and from defending across the board. It’s going to have to be by committee, and I thought they showed that tonight.”

Things get much more difficult later this week as the Terps travel to face No. 6 South Carolina, which beat No. 10 Notre Dame, 100-71, in Paris on Monday.

Here’s what else to know about Maryland’s win:

Brown-Turner, from Oxon Hill, played her first game for Maryland after four seasons at North Carolina State. She had high school coaches and family in the stands.

“I’m very excited to be here,” she said. “I’m happy my teammates and Coach B put confidence in me to be able to play here. So I’m just happy to just keep winning games with this team.

“I’m nervous before every game, but my coaches and my teammates, they always get my head right and make sure that I have confidence. I just love playing here.”

Allie Kubek transferred from Towson last year, but she suffered a torn ACL in the preseason and had not played a game before Monday. She put up eight points, four rebounds and a block that had teammates leaping off the bench. Freshman guard Riley Nelson (three points, two rebounds in a little more than 10 minutes) saw her first playing time; she was the No. 18 recruit in the nation, according to ESPN. Freshman Emily Fisher, the No. 80 recruit by ESPN, had four points and four rebounds in just over 11 minutes.

Brionna Jones, Maryland’s newest assistant, made her sideline debut Monday. Jones was named first team all-Big Ten while playing for the Terps from 2013 to 2017. She was an Associated Press first team all-American for the 2016-17 season and the No. 8 pick in the 2017 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. Jones played just 13 games for the Sun in 2023 before she ruptured her right Achilles’ tendon. She has taken on the role of director of player personnel under Frese as she continues to rehab from the injury.

Plenty of former Terps were in the building as members of the 2006 national championship team, including Mystics guard Kristi Toliver, Crystal Langhorne and Marissa Coleman.

A moment of silence was held pregame for women’s basketball Hall of Famer Tara Heiss, who died in July. She played for Maryland from 1975 to 1978 and became the first Terp to score 1,000 points. Heiss led the program to its first ACC championship and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003. Her No. 44 is hanging in the rafters of Xfinity Center, and the coaching staff wore patches with the number.

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