Angel Reese can admit it now, more than a year after Maryland’s most hyped women’s basketball recruit in years broke her foot in just the fourth game of her freshman year.

“Why me?”

She couldn’t get the thought out of her head. Tears and the fear of the unknown quickly followed. Reese returned in February and came off the bench, but she wasn’t quite the same.

“It was mentally tough for me to get back to where I was before,” she said. “I had so many expectations on me last year, and then when the injury hit, it was so tough. The most important thing about injuries, getting through it, is the mental side. And that was something I had to get through.”

Reese got the mental boost she needed during summer tryouts for Team USA’s Under-19 World Cup team. She didn’t make the final roster, but it was the process that meant the most. She went against the likes of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, the nation’s leading scorer, and Connecticut’s Azzi Fudd, the No. 1 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2021. She flourished — and got her swagger back.

As she returned to College Park, that swagger came with her. Reese opened the season with career highs in points (21) and rebounds (14) against Longwood. Since then, those career highs have moved north, settling (for now) at 26 and 15, which both came in an 82-74 win over Miami on Dec. 2. She is averaging 18.2 points and 10.8 rebounds for No. 8 Maryland (12-4, 4-1 Big Ten), which hosts No. 11 Michigan (14-2, 5-1) on Sunday.

Do the numbers surprise her?

“I’m surprised, but then I’m not surprised,” she said.

The most impressive statistic may be her offensive rebounding. Reese leads the nation with 5.4 per game. She has an uncanny knack for getting her hands on the ball around the rim, using her long, 6-foot-3 frame seemingly to glide into optimal position.

Reese has a bulldog mentality when going after her own misses and putting them back. She has athleticism and a quick second jump that many others simply don’t possess.

Opponents are thankful to get stops against the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation — and then there’s Reese giving the Terrapins extra opportunities.

“You have to have an incredible desire to rebound,” analyst Debbie Antonelli said. “She sees two points. That’s what I think she sees — or an and-one. She gets two points on an offensive rebound. She goes hard to the glass, and with her length, she doesn’t have to necessarily just check out somebody and then rebound above her head. She can rebound out of her area, which means, if the ball is left or right, she has an instinct to go get it and she doesn’t just wait for the ball to come to her.”

Those instincts reap similar dividends on the defensive end: Reese can start the break with her own dribble after a rebound.

“If she runs hard, she can get two points on the other end,” Antonelli added. “I see rebounds for Angel equaling two points on either end of the floor — offensive rebound or a defensive rebound that leads to a transition bucket.”

Reese is just 31 games into her college career. Much of what she’s doing is fueled by natural ability and an unorthodox skill set that includes a variety of scoop shots that make her so difficult to defend. Antonelli is eager to see what Reese will be once she develops consistent moves and counters that she can rely on.

She is still a work in progress for Coach Brenda Frese. Reese will really be a problem, Antonelli said, when she can catch the ball at the elbow, reverse pivot and take one dribble to get to the basket. “Unguardable,” Antonelli said. Reese continues to work on her outside shot and will be even more of a threat when she can add a pick-and-pop to her game.

“It’s exciting,” Frese said. “There were so many elements going into this year of unknowns. And still almost feeling like her freshman year and getting her in shape and different things. The sky’s the limit. Once you master something, you’ve got to continue to layer even more. So it is exciting for her.”

Reese and the rest of the Terps will get a test from the Wolverines, who have tied the best start in program history over 16 games and are 3-1 against ranked teams, including a win over No. 5 Baylor.

Michigan is led by 2021 ­second-team all-American Naz Hillmon, who is the No. 4 scorer in program history and has a chance to be the first Wolverine to reach 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. The winner will sit alone in second place in the Big Ten behind Indiana (13-2, 5-0).

Michigan is 1-10 all time against Maryland and has never won in College Park.

“Another opportunity for us to play against some of the best competition in the country,” Frese said. “I love where our league is at, continuing to allow us to be battle-tested. And as a team, we’re just continuing to stack practices together and build our chemistry together.

“Obviously a difficult matchup with Naz Hillmon and [Leigha] Brown and the rest of their roster has really improved. It’s going to take a collective team effort defensively with all of the different weapons that they have.”