COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Katie Benzan – who knows a thing or two about 3-pointers – can appreciate the play of Maryland’s next opponent.
That will be the Florida Gulf Coast, whose motto is “Rising Threes”.
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“Their style of play looks pretty fun,” says Benzan. “Just start from number 3 and go from there. And it’s definitely unique. Not many teams play that way. We are looking forward to the challenge of playing them. “
Fourth-seeded Terrapins face 12th-seeded FGCU on Sunday with a stop in Sweet 16 on the line. The game will feature two of the top five players on the career list in the form of 3 pointers. Benzan is fifth and Florida Gulf Coast’s Kendall Spray is fourth.
FGCU (30-2) beat Virginia Tech 84-81 in the first round. That game was a complete contrast in style that was expected. The Eagles have no one taller than 6-foot-1 on their list, and they lead the nation on the 3-point effort. The FGCU allowed Virginia Tech’s 6-foot-6 star Elizabeth Kitley for 42 points, but the Eagles shot 15/38 points from outside the arc.
“We practice 3s every day. Half the practice time is the 3-second shooting,” said Tishara Morehouse of FGCU. “So we have a lot of confidence when it comes to shooting, no doubt.”
Teams at all levels of basketball have become more attuned to an analytically approved style that is heavy on 3s and belt shots, but the Eagles are unique in other ways.
“I think FGCU really reminded us of Villanova, playing only five guards and laying the floor very well,” says Benzan. “It’s different from any team we’ve played before and I think we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Maryland beat Villanova 88-67 in November, although the Wildcats won 13 of 27 from a 3-point range. The FGCU averages more than 30 tries per game, and Maryland coach Brenda Frese says her team needs to prepare for the fact that the Eagles can earn quite a bit.
“I think they can’t be deflated by the number of threes they made, and obviously we need to make it difficult for them from the three,” Frese said. “But for us, it’s just about continuing to play the right way, within our offense.”
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As a smaller team led by Morehouse, the FGCU was able to get on and off the field quickly. Maryland also feels comfortable playing at a fast pace, as it shows in win 102-71 beat Delaware in the first round.
“They were one of the best teams in the college basketball transition, and they competed across all possessions,” said FGCU coach Karl Smesko. “So I’m sure they’ll run tomorrow. We’re going to have to put in a good effort in the defensive transition to try to get them to make games. We don’t want them to run after us and go behind us to easily shoot the basket.”
Maryland doesn’t have anyone on the inside as majestic as Kitley, but 6 feet 3 tall, but Angel Reese is someone the Eagles will need to deal with.
“She’s shown all season that she wants to have that responsibility, and she’s clearly the presence we need,” Frese said.
FGCU didn’t do much to slow Kitley on Friday, but the Eagles effectively started doubling her late game.
“We will have to do some of the same things,” Smesko said. “We were a bit slow in adjusting to cause problems on deep drops yesterday, but we played our way. Sometimes the big players can cause us problems around the perimeter, but they also have to protect us, and we can stretch everyone with our players, have a lot of hands. guns on the field. ”
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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/19/maryland-ready-to-face-florida-gulf-coasts-unique-style/ Maryland Ready To Face Florida’s Unique Style Of The Gulf Coast – CBS Baltimore