In October 2012, Maryland women’s basketball player Brene Moseley, then on track to start as a sophomore, felt her knee buckle as she planted her left leg during a preseason intrasquad scrimmage. There was no mistaking the injury for anything other than a torn anterior cruciate ligament because Moseley had suffered the same injury in her right knee before her senior year at Paint Branch High School outside the District.
More than a year of recovery and rehab later, Moseley re-entered the lineup, spending the next two seasons as the backup point guard to Lexie Brown. Then, when Brown unexpectedly transferred in May, it appeared Moseley finally was going to ascend to a starting position.
But Coach Brenda Frese has continued to feature the fifth-year senior as the Terrapins’ top reserve this season, using her dynamic scoring and passing as an infusion of energy in Maryland’s transition-heavy offense.
That Moseley embraced her spot in the rotation — rather than stewing over not starting — is why Frese calls the former Washington Post first-team All-Met among the most valuable players she has coached in 13-plus seasons in College Park. It has also contributed to the sixth-ranked Terrapins being one victory from clinching the outright Big Ten regular season title in Sunday’s finale against Minnesota.
Before tip-off, Moseley will be recognized in a pregame ceremony at Xfinity Center along with classmates Malina Howard, Chloe Pavlech and Tierney Pfirman.
“I think the biggest thing that stands out for me is everything she embodies wearing a Maryland uniform,” Frese said of Moseley. “She’s made so many sacrifices, been through so much adversity, to really come out a winner when you talk about how much success she’s had.”
Among those accomplishments includes helping the Terrapins advance to the Final Four in each of the last two seasons. Moseley also was instrumental down the stretch in Maryland’s undefeated run through the Big Ten last year in its first season as a member of the conference.
Her game-high 18 points in 21 minutes in a 69-48 road win against Northwestern, for instance, enabled Maryland to complete the Big Ten regular season at 18-0. Six days later in the conference tournament semifinals, also against the Wildcats, Moseley scored 15 points in 21 minutes to spark a 74-63 triumph. Maryland beat Ohio State the next day, 77-74, to win the tournament title.
“I’m just thankful,” said Moseley, adding that she is uncertain if she will be able to hold back tears on Sunday. “I can’t ask for a better career than what’s unfolded here. I’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve grown so much through it.”
This season has been Moseley’s most complete at Maryland. She leads the team and is third in the Big Ten in assists (6.1 per game) while averaging a career-high 11.6 points. Moseley trails only Shatori Walker-Kimbrough (19.6 points per game) and Brionna Jones (15.3) in scoring for the Terrapins (26-3, 15-2 Big Ten), who face a daunting assignment on Sunday in trying to limit guard Rachel Banham and the Golden Gophers (19-9, 11-6).
The 5-foot-9 fifth-year senior leads the Big Ten in scoring (27.8) and is a contender for conference player of the year. Banham most recently scored 35 points in a 90-88 overtime win against No. 5 Ohio State on Wednesday night in her final home game. She has also had games with 60 and 52 points this season, compelling Kobe Bryant to offer praise on Twitter with the hashtag #mambablood.
Frese has not indicated who will start off guarding Banham, but Walker-Kimbrough certainly is in the mix given her athleticism. Regardless, the defensive game plan includes deploying multiple players throughout the game on Banham, much in the same way Maryland approached Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell, a prolific scorer in her own right and the other leading contender for Big Ten player of the year.
Banham did not play in last season’s only meeting against the Terrapins because of an ACL injury. Maryland won, 77-73, with Moseley scoring 15 points in 16 minutes. She made all four of her field goals attempts, including three three-pointers, and went 4 for 4 from the free throw line.
“They’ve put a lot of time into this program, so we just want to give back to them any way possible,” Walker-Kimbrough, who also had 15 points last season against Minnesota, said of the Terrapins’ seniors. “We’re playing for them. We’ve been playing for them this season. This is their season. We owe it to them, all the time they’ve spent giving back to the organization.”