It's fun to have a little bit more time to reflect after as exciting a win as an ACC Championship, looking back at the photos and the videos. Some special memories were created for this team and for this program, said Head Coach Brenda Frese.
Frese said that her team used part of the week to rest and catch up on academics, while the coaching staff has been in a huge recruiting mode with high school state tournaments taking place. The week off has also given the Terps an extra chance to target areas of improvement in practice and begin to prepare for teams they could possibly face in the NCAA Tournament. There are people who think having so much time off between games could hurt a team, but Frese only sees it as a positive.
I've really liked that the ACC [Tournament] goes early, she said. It allows you to kind of take a breath, and I've never been one of those who's like 'oh, you haven't played a game in 10 days, you're going to be rusty.' These guys can play basketball in their sleep.
Winning the ACC Championship has also given the team a confidence level that it did not have after getting knocked out in the quarterfinals last season.
This year it's a different feeling. We're going to come out there with a lot of energy, still excited from the [ACC] tournament, said sophomore Alyssa Thomas.
Frese agreed, noting that having three seniors on the roster this year after having none last year has put the team in a much different place than a year ago.
We're playing for each other, and that's a great feeling when you're hopefully peaking at the right time, she said.
Maryland will now wait to find out which region it will be placed in for the NCAA Tournament, which starts on March 17. The Terps are a probable No. 2 seed, but with so many strong Top-10 teams this year Frese said that the Selection Committee has a hard job.
One thing the Terps do know is that they will play their first and second round games at Comcast Center, something that they are really looking forward to.
It feels like we haven't been here in forever, said Thomas. I know we're excited for the tournament to start being that we are hosting, and we get to play in front of our home crowd so it should be pretty good.
Even though the team is eying a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, Frese said they haven't focused much on the Final Four and have been taking a more day-to-day approach ever since the loss to Virginia Tech in January.
Junior Tianna Hawkins agreed, saying that the Terps have to take it one game at a time.
Our main goal is to make it to the Final Four, but we can't overlook our opponents, she said.