As we celebrate Brenda Frese’s 20th season as the (highly successful) head coach of the Maryland women’s basketball program, we’re reminded that oftentimes a great college coach is at least partially defined by recruiting great players.
Frese has landed so many of those throughout the past two decades, garnering her recognition as one of the best recruiters in modern history. As the 2021-22 season gets underway, we also celebrate “The 15 Best Players Of The Brenda Frese Era” this month.
Reminder: These players are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking.
1. Lexie Brown (2013-2015)
It was tough to stomach Brown departing Maryland in favor of Duke after two seasons. But her two seasons with the Terps were quite special. She earned first-team All-Big Ten and third-team AP All-American honors as a sophomore. She was also named the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player as a sophomore and helped Maryland reach the Final Four in both seasons.
2. Kaila Charles (Riverdale Baptist) (2016-2020)
We’ll always be left to wonder what the Terps might have accomplished in Charles’ final season had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s almost no question she would have tallied the 16 points she needed to reach 2,000 for her career. Still, she was a two-time AP All-American and three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and part of two Big Ten tournament title teams.
3. Marissa Coleman (2005-2009)
Where do we start with Marissa Coleman? Sure, she was a three-time AP All-American and four-time All-ACC performer and the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2006. She was also the Most Outstanding Player of the 2009 ACC tournament, helping the Terps to their first ACC title in 20 years. She recorded the first triple-double in program history as a sophomore and set a new single-game program record with 42 points to help the Terps rally from 18 down against Vanderbilt in the 2009 Sweet 16. But most importantly, she had double-doubles in both the Final Four and national championship game in 2006 … when she was a freshman!
4. Shay Doron (2003-2007)
The Israel native was the first critical recruit to arrive at Maryland in the Brenda Frese era. She became a three-time All-ACC selection and an honorable mention AP All-American in 2007. Her 16 points in the 2006 national championship game were tied for the team high, and she finished the title season with eight 20-point games.
5. Laura Harper (2004-2008)
The following is the list of all Maryland women’s basketball players to have been named the Most Outstanding Player of a Final Four:
The current Coppin State head coach scored a combined 40 points between the national semifinal and final in 2006, all after returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon earlier in the season. She’s also the school’s all-time leader in career blocked shots.
6. Tianna Hawkins (Riverdale Baptist) (2009-2013)
Hawkins finished her career as a two-time All-ACC selection and helped the Terps to the ACC tournament title as a junior. She also pulled down a school-record 24 rebounds in a game against Wake Forest in 2012 and remains one of the top 15 scorers in program history.
7. Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) (2013-2017)
During her Maryland career, Jones was twice an AP All-American (including a first-team selection in 2017). She was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. She led the country in field-goal percentage twice. She helped the team win three Big Ten tournament titles (including being Most Outstanding Player in 2017) and reach two Final Fours. As a senior, she matched the program’s single-game scoring record with 42 points against Penn State and set the school’s single-season scoring record.
8. Stephanie Jones (Aberdeen) (2016-2020)
Speaking of the Jones family, the third-best shooter in school history is … Brionna’s younger sister. She was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and part of two Big Ten tournament championship teams, including scoring a team-high 18 points in the 2020 Big Ten championship game win against Ohio State.
9. Lynetta Kizer (2008-2012)
Kizer was a three-time All-ACC honoree during her career and was named the league’s Sixth Player of the Year as a senior, helping the Terps to the ACC tournament championship that year. She scored in double figures in both the semifinals and championship games.
10. Crystal Langhorne (2004-2008)
When she left Maryland, Langhorne was the school’s all-time leading scorer. She remains the school’s all-time greatest shooter from the field for both a career and a single season. The New Jersey native remarkably shot 9-for-9 from the field in a game on two separate occasions during her career! Most importantly, she shined during the Terps’ run to the national title in 2006 and was named Most Outstanding Player of the Albuquerque regional.
11. Diamond Miller (2019-present)
The New Jersey native has the majority of her story still to write, but it’s off to an incredible start. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the Big Ten tournament as a sophamore last year, helping the Terps to their fifth Big Ten title. She was named first-team All-Big Ten while shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. She also helped the Terps win the 2020 Big Ten tournament title by scoring 15 points in the semifinals.
12. Ashley Owusu (2019-present)
Similar to Miller, there’s much of a story still be written with Owusu. But she was an All-Big Ten performer during each of her first two seasons, a third-team AP All-American as a sophomore and the 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Her 174 assists in 2019-20 were the second most by a freshman in school history.
13. Alyssa Thomas (2010-2014)
Thomas was a three-time ACC Player of the Year (and the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2011 before that) and the MVP of the 2012 ACC tournament. She was outstanding during the team’s run to the Final Four in 2014, including a 33-point effort against Tennessee in the Sweet 16. She’s also the school’s record holder for the most rebounds in a season and in a career AND the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,356 points for her career.
14. Kristi Toliver (2005-2009)
If she accomplished nothing else in her career, she’d probably make the list alone for hitting “The Shot” as a freshman, the 3-pointer that forced overtime in the 2006 NCAA championship game against Duke. But that’s far from all. She made a school-record 300 triples in her career, including a then-school record 91 as a senior. She’s also the single-season and career record holder for free-throw shooting and assists. But again, The Shot. It is the single most important play in Maryland history.
15. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (2013-2017)
There’s great reason why the three-time AP All-American has her jersey hanging in the rafters at Xfinity Center. She was a major part of two Final Four and three Big Ten title teams. She set a Big Ten 3-point shooting record as a junior, leading the country in the process. She was the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 Big Ten tournament and the 2015 Spokane regional in the NCAA Tournament. She once scored 41 points in a single game against Purdue as a junior.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics