The Maryland women's basketball team's rebounding prowess is nothing new. Last season, the squad finished second in the nation in rebound margin and sixth in rebounds per game.
Once again, the No. 10 Terps are near the top of the leaderboards in both categories, sitting at No. 9 in rebound margin and No. 8 in rebounds per game.
Maryland's ability to dominate the glass was on display in its 64-57 victory at Nebraska on Sunday. The Terps bossed the Huskers on the boards, coming down with 20 more rebounds than the hosts and executing in an area coach Brenda Frese wanted more production in.
"Coach [Frese] made the emphasis that if we rebound, we'll have more chances to make more opportunities on the offensive end and more opportunities on the defensive end," guard Kaila Charles said.
Maryland was out-rebounded by five in its early-season loss to then-No. 4 South Carolina and by 22 in its defeat to No. 1 Connecticut.
In those losses, the Terps struggled to beat forwards bigger than their own. Maryland's tallest players are 6-foot-3, but the Gamecocks had 6-foot-5 A'ja Wilson, and the Huskies earned a lift from 6-foot-6 Azurá Stevens. Both forwards had 12 boards.
Nebraska's 6-foot-5 freshman center Kate Cain presented the same problem, averaging nearly seven rebounds per game. But the Terps got her in early foul trouble, negating much of her size advantage.
After beating Nebraska, the Terps (20-3, 9-1 Big Ten) improved to 16-1 in games where they grabbed more boards than the opposition.
"We did give them, with great pressure, some problems," Frese said. "Getting Cain in foul trouble in the first half was key for us as well. That gave us some big momentum."
However, the Terps faced their own issues with fouls. Forwards Stephanie Jones and Brianna Fraser picked up two early fouls and had to toe the line for the remainder of the contest. In their place, Maryland's only other forward, Aja Ellison, grabbed four rebounds in nine minutes.
Charles, who leads the team in rebounds per game, grabbed nearly double her average with 16. Guard Kristen Confroy, who is only 5-foot-9, hauled in 10 as the pair of guards picked up the slack for the team's post players.
The Terps are confident that kind of collective effort will lead to more victories down the stretch.
"[Rebounding] was a huge part," Charles said. "We've been kind of sluggish on that end in the last couple games … that was a key point. Just being physical and crashing and never giving up on the play."