Getting to know Maryland women’s basketball touted recruiting class

By: Cody Wilcox

Although the 2018 season is just beginning for the Maryland women’s basketball team, the NCAA early signing period began Nov. 14, and head coach Brenda Frese announced Wednesday that Maryland will host the No.1 freshman class next season.

The class consists of four five star recruits: guard Ashley Owusu, guard Diamond Miller, forward Faith Masonius and guard Zoe Young.

*Editor’s note: After Frese announced that the team would welcome the No. 1 freshman class in the country, South Carolina edged over Maryland in the ESPN rankings with a signee to move the Terps to No. 2.

This is the third time in the past four years that Frese has welcomed the No. 1 or No. 2 freshman recruiting class, and thirteenth time Frese has had a top-ten class in her 17-year tenure in College Park.

“This 2019 class is one we are really excited about,” Frese said. “There’s a lot to like with four versatile players that have each won a lot of games.

“This class includes two championship winning players from New Jersey, which is a state that has been very good to us in my time at Maryland. You can say the same for Virginia, which is where Owusu is from. For the first time, we got to sign a player for my home state of Iowa.”

Here’s a deeper look into the newest Terps:

Ashley Owusu- Guard (No. 1 Point Guard, No. 5 Overall by ESPN)

Paul VI Catholic High School – Woodbridge, Virginia

Maryland’s highly ranked class features Owusu as their highest-ranked prospect. The 5-foot-9-inch guard’s ability to handle the basketball is the first attribute that separates her. She possesses a variety of quick ball-handling moves that allow her to get into the teeth of the defense. When defenders counter her penetration by going under screens and giving her space outside the paint, Owusu has the ability to make shots at the mid-range and three-point level.

Owusu will join forward Shakira Austin as the only other Virginia native on the roster. Staying close to home, Owusu says, played a large part in her decision.

“I’m a family person and Coach [Frese] really talks about and makes family important,” Owusu said. “[Maryland] just felt like home to me and it is a bonus that my family can come to games.”

Along with her talent, Owusu will be bringing a championship pedigree to the Maryland program. In her three-year high school career, Owusu has one Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship and three Virginia state championships.

“[Owusu is] a powerful guard that can get her shot in multiple ways. She’s played in one of the top high school programs and conferences in the country,” Frese said. “She should really provide some punch to our backcourt.”

Diamond Miller- Guard (No. 6 Guard, No. 18 Overall by ESPN)

Franklin High School- Somerset, New Jersey

Miller is a dynamic scorer with great length that allows her to score the basketball from all over the court. Miller is currently the leading scorer in Franklin High School’s history and has 1,680 points in her career and counting.

Miller grew up in a basketball family with her father, Lance Miller, previously playing for Villanova University. Lance Miller ranks among the university’s all-time career leaders in various categories and was inducted into the Villanova University Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2011.

In August 2018, Diamond Miller made ESPN’s top 10 plays with a crossover at the SLAM Summer Classic.

“Diamond should thrive in the way we play up tempo. With her size, smarts and ability, she can be a stat-sheet stuff,” Frese said. “She’s a terrific teammate who has really been a prime-time performer in big games. She can play all over the perimeter and can create matchup problems with her length.”

Faith Masonius- Forward (No. 10 Wing, No. 49 Overall by ESPN)

Manasquan High School- Manasquan, New Jersey

Masonius looks fundamentally sound around the rim, along with an ability to hit the mid-range jump shot. As a junior last year, the 6-foot-1-inch forward averaged 18.7 points and 10.3 rebounds and reached 1,000 career points.

During her high school career, Mosonius has won a number of state accolades, including being named a First Team All-State selection in 2018. She said she chose Maryland because of  the coaches, campus and the atmosphere at the Xfinity Center, especially during Maryland’s game last year against South Carolina.

“We really liked Faith when she came to our camp a few years back. Everything about her says winner,” Frese said. “She can handle, pass and score the ball. I really think she’s going to become an important part of our program.”

Zoe Young- Guard (No. 9 Guard, No. 30 Overall by ESPN)

West Des Moines Valley High School- Des Moines, Iowa

Young is the first player from Frese’s home state of Iowa to sign with Frese and the Terps. The only other Iowa native that has played under Frese was Lori Bjork, who spent three years at the University of Illinois before playing for Maryland in 2009.

Young demonstrates a confident game that allows her to penetrate into the paint and dish to her teammates. She is very versatile at the guard position with the ability to bring the ball up the court or to play off the ball and become a dominant scorer.

“Zoe is a powerful guard that can play both the one and the two. She’s unselfish and sees the floor well. She facilitates for others and she can score when she needs to,” Frese said. “I’m a big believer in having players that connect the other players on the court. I think Zoe can be one of those players for us.”

Young won an Iowa state title in 2017 and has been a two-year varsity captain for West Des Moines Valley High School. She is an AP scholar and has been named to the Academic All-Conference team three times.

“[Maryland] is an elite program and has great academics,” Young said. “I love that Maryland is in the Big Ten, and I loved Coach [Frese’s] connection to Iowa.”