Maryland should have high hopes for the future of the women’s basketball program.
Next year, the Lady Terps will welcome in the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. It’s a class that features three McDonald’s All-Americans and one of the players that has the potential to make a great impact to an already talented Maryland team.
Enter Kaila Charles.
According to ESPN, Charles is the No. 25 player in the nation and with such an impressive season in toe, that she has a good chance to be named to the All-Met First Team by the Washington Post. Charles led her team in scoring with 20.1 points-per-game and recorded 25 double-doubles in her first year playing for the Lady Crusaders
Her ability to make an impact on the offensive and defensive end of the court is the reason she played in the McDonald’s All-American game last Wednesday. During the game, Charles tallied four points and six rebounds. Her appearance in the game makes her the fourth player in Maryland history to play in the prestigious event and the second player from nearby Riverdale Baptist (Md.).
With Riverdale Baptist being the No. 5 team in the country according to USA Today, they earned a trip to the Dick’s Sporting Goods National Tournament. The two-time tournament champions opened with a matchup against St. Francis (Ga.).
The Crusaders were down for the most part of the game, but a strong second half proved to be the difference maker in their 57-50 victory. Charles led the way for her team with 17 points and four rebounds.
Charles struggled in the first half, only scoring four points. But when her team looked like they were in trouble, Charles stepped up her play and netted 13 points in the second half, including a couple of clutch shots during the final seconds in the game that led Riverdale to the win.
A day later, Charles and Riverdale Baptist played in the championship game against Ribault (Fla.) on one of the biggest stages in sports, Madison Square Garden. The Crusaders’ offensive struggles and Ribault’s balanced attack were the reasons for a 75-49 defeat.
Once again, Charles had a solid outing as she finished the game with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and connected on five of her seven free throw attempts. Charles’ performance during the National Tournament allowed her to be named to the Girl’s All-Tournament Team.
Maryland has already established themselves as one of the best programs in the country, despite an early exit from this year’s NCAA Tournament. With Charles and the rest of the incoming class, the Lady Terps will have a good chance to sustain that level of success.