The Maryland Terrapins are enjoying another good season to this point. The Terps are 16-2 overall (5-2 in Big Ten play). Head coach Brenda Frese has these young women playing sound basketball. Veteran leaders Stephanie Jones, Kalia Charles, and Blair Watson are performing admirably this season. In addition to play of the upperclassmen, the Terps are having standout seasons from Shakira Austin and Taylor Mikesell.
Since joining the Big Ten, the Terps are 66-10 in Big Ten play with three regular season titles, two conference tournament titles and fourth berths in the NCAA Tournament. Mikesell wants to continue that winning tradition.
“I wanted to be a part of something like that,” Mikesell stated to Mechelle Voepel of espnW.
As of January 22, the Massillon, Ohio native is averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. The most compelling piece of Mikesell’s game is her shooting ability. Taylor is shooting 43.1% from three-point range. Shooting the ball with that accuracy does not come without some hard work.
The Big Ten Network was able to highlight the Jackson High School product. On non-game days, Mieksell makes 1,000 shots. Of those 1,000 shots, the freshman makes 450 2-pointers, 400 3-pointers, and 150 free throws. On game days, Mikesell makes 500 shots (200 2-pointers, 250 3-pointers, and 50 free throws).
In fact, Taylor Mikesell does not consider that to be a workout. “That’s not the actual work I do,” Mikesell declared to Joe Scalzo of the Canton Rep. “That’s just the shooting I do before practice or a game. I don’t consider shooting to be a workout.”
“What separates her is there’s nobody that works harder on our team,” said Frese of Mikesell to Voepel. “I was down on the court this morning at 8:30, and she was already there. She probably got there an hour before me. The results speak for themselves; there’s a reason she’s having the success she is.”
In the case of Shakira Austin, she is utilizing her raw talent to have a successful start to her college career. To put it differently, Austin is just getting started. The player known as “Shak” is averaging 8.8 points and 10.8 rebounds for Maryland.
“It’s not because of Shaquille O’Neal!” Austin exclaimed to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post back in December. “It’s just the short version of my name. It just goes.”
The No. 3 overall player in the class of 2018, according to ESPN, is the highest-ranked recruit to come to Maryland.
In the event that Austin keeps this up, we could be seeing her in a few years playing professionally.
“I’m excited. I mean, the way we develop pros, she’s got a chance to be a pro, she’s got a chance to be really special,” Frese stated to Ava Wallace. “When I look at her from a coaching end, by the time she graduates we need to make sure she’s the No. 1 pick in the draft. That’s the kind of potential she has, it’s exciting to thing what’s ahead.”
Shakira Austin moves very well from what we have been watching this season. She is fast and aggressive, particularly for a freshman. Because of her agility, she can make it difficult for opposing post players to score. The Riverdale Baptist product is second in the Big Ten in blocks per game (2.8 blocks).
“The sky is the limit with Shakira; you see all the tools,” Frese noted to Voepel. “You have to allow the ebbs and flows that will take place, especially for a freshman big. She had a lot of early success in the nonconference. And then in conference play, you get matched with length and physicality. That has been an adjustment for her, but one she’s working through.”
Next up for the Maryland Terrapins is a tough one against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
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