Megan Whittle has been a top scorer for Maryland women's lacrosse since her freshman year, but her most recent performance against Syracuse showed a new side to the attacker's game.
Whittle notched career-highs in draw controls wins (five) and assists (two), in addition to scoring a hat trick, in No. 5 Maryland's 18-11 win over the No. 8 Orange at the Carrier Dome.
"This was one of the best games I've seen her play. … She was great all over," Reese said. "She was really smart on the offensive end, and that's what we need her to do. They were doubling her really quickly, and so she wasn't forcing opportunities today, she really pulled it out, worked the ball around and we were able to find a couple assists off of that and otherwise draw some opportunities."
After midfielder Zoe Stukenberg graduated last May, Whittle has taken the brunt of double teams from opponents. While she has shown she can finesse her way past such defenses, Whittle is looking to become more of a passer this season.
Attacker Caroline Steele, who tallied five goals against Syracuse, with one coming from an assist from Whittle, said the senior always keeps her head up and eyes open for someone to pass to.
Reese said earlier in the week she was pushing Whittle to lead the offensive flow through finding open teammates.
And with new rules, Whittle is also having more of an impact in the draw circle.
Players taking the draw are forced to keep their sticks above and parallel to the center line, affecting where the ball goes, as well as changing the number of players allowed in the midfield area until possession is established.
While Whittle doesn't take draws, she's one of players around the draw circle to help pick up balls and gain draw control.
"Something I've been working on is to watch the ball all the way," Whittle said, "and get it safely over the line for possession."
Her contribution helped Maryland earn 22 draw control wins to Syracuse's eight, which provided the Terps offensive control and more chances to score.
"Everyone's in there fighting, whether it's boxing out players or coming up with the actual ball," Reese said. "It was a really nice effort to see what we saw in the draw circle."