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Maryland women miss the point after Moseley's injury

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Guard's ACL tear alters the plan for Terrapins

Optimism always reigns on media day. But amid the picture taking, the proclamations of renewal and rededication and the bright smiles and perfect hairdos, there was one disquieting sight for the Maryland women's basketball team -- point guard Brene Moseley with a walking cane.

Injured in a scrimmage Sunday, Moseley had spent Monday morning getting an MRI on her left knee. As the interviews wound down in the afternoon, Maryland coaches received the news they had feared: Moseley had a torn ACL, the second of her career, one for each knee.

After the graduation of starter Anjale Barrett, Maryland was counting on the sophomore, the first guard off the bench last year, for major minutes. Now the Terrapins will turn ball-handling duties over to junior wing Laurin Mincy.

"It obviously affects us from a depth [perspective]," coach Brenda Frese said. "It will be point guard by committee."

Another option at the point is All-American Alyssa Thomas, a 6-foot-2 junior so versatile that she defies categorization. Thomas often has been called a point forward. This year on the court, however, she could more closely resemble a point guard.

"I feel like I do that now. I get it off the rebound and push it when I need to push," Thomas said. "Sometimes I set up the play. That's what's so unique about our team. Our offense is designed for anybody to set up the play."

The injury leaves Maryland with just 10 players, but four are returning starters, and three were named to the 10-player All-ACC preseason team: Thomas, Mincy and 6-3 senior Tianna Hawkins. Coming off a 31-5 season, an ACC tournament title and an appearance in the Elite Eight, Maryland believes it will be improved.

To that end, Frese has established a motto, "All in to WIN," with the final word an acronym that translates to "what's important now." Frese is urging players to live in the moment, on and off the court.

"It was to really focus on the day-in and day-out," Frese said. "If you focus on the little things, the winning will take care of itself. If we're in academics, we're focused on that moment. If we're in practice, we're into that moment. If we're with our family, we're all in."

Frese welcomes four new players, including junior 3-point specialist Katie Rutan, a 5-8 transfer who was a rotation player for two Elite Eight teams at Xavier, where she hit 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.

The top freshman is 6-4 Malina Howard from Twinsburg, Ohio, rated by ESPN the top post player in the high school class of 2012.

All that's left to settle is the point guard. Frese will give looks to junior Sequoia Austin (Holton-Arms) and freshmen Chloe Pavlech (Cincinnati) and Tierney Pfirman (Williamsport, Pa.), who played all five positions in high school.

When the Terps open Nov. 9 against Mount St. Mary's, don't be surprised if they start an intriguing lineup of all 6-footers, appropriate for a team that is thinking big.

"I compare this team chemistry-wise to the '06 [NCAA championship] team," Frese said. "By far the hardest-working team I feel I've ever coached collectively."

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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