Maryland women’s basketball Coach Brenda Frese frequently encourages her reserves to be prepared because there’s no telling when it might be their time to contribute. That guidance resonated especially with Chloe Pavlech, who, after coming off the bench the past two seasons, is primed to become the starting point guard in the wake of unforeseen circumstances in the spring.
Like the rest of her teammates, the senior was caught off-guard upon learning that Lexie Brown, the Terrapins’ starter at the point in consecutive Final Fours, had asked to transfer. Brown will play this season for Duke. That drama unfolded in May, and Pavlech suddenly was next in line at the position, with her college basketball career about to conclude in much the same way it began.
As a freshman, Pavlech unexpectedly took over at point guard when Brene Moseley, the presumptive starter at the time, tore her anterior cruciate ligament in a preseason scrimmage.
“Not to sort of downplay any other season I’ve had, but as a senior, it really hits you like, ‘Wow, this is it. This is my last year,’ ” Pavlech said. “Definitely it’s come full circle. It’s just a reminder to always stay the course because you never know what could happen and just always be ready for an opportunity at any given moment.”
Pavlech started 31 games in the 2012-13 season and averaged 30 minutes as Maryland advanced to the NCAA tournament’s round of 16 despite a rash of injuries that left Frese with six regulars.
One of Pavlech’s most memorable performances that season came in a 61-48 loss to top-ranked Connecticut, when she scored 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting and kept the Terrapins within reach until late in the second half against the eventual national champions. Pavlech also scored her career high of 20 points in an 84-62 win against Miami that year.
But the following two seasons, as Brown became the centerpiece, Pavlech played in 38 games combined, averaging just over eight minutes.
Moseley, a redshirt senior, has found herself in a similar position as Pavlech during her time in College Park. The first-team All-Met as a junior at Paint Branch High School was in line to start after rehabbing her knee injury but wound up deferring to Brown. Last season, though, Moseley proved an invaluable reserve during those rare games in which Brown struggled.
In a 65-55 win against Duke in the NCAA tournament’s regional semifinals, for instance, Moseley sank a pair of three-pointers in the second half and scored eight points in 16 minutes. Brown, meanwhile, missed all seven of her field goal attempts. In the final regular season game, Moseley came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points in 21 minutes in a 69-48 victory over Northwestern.
The victory capped an undefeated run through the Big Ten in Maryland’s inaugural season in the conference.
“In all my years here I’ve dealt with a lot of change,” said Moseley, who also tore her ACL before her senior season in high school. “I think throughout the course of a season, for you to be able to be successful, you have to face adversity to be able to learn and grow. Like with me and the whole senior class, we’ve dealt with that, and we’ve been able to handle it and come back from it.”
Frese indicated Moseley would play extensively again this season. It’s also a luxury to have a bench player who can score in bunches, whether that be from beyond the three-point line or driving deep into the lane. Moseley led all Maryland reserves last season in scoring (5.6) and assists (1.4).
Pavlech is more distributor than scorer, with her natural instinct to get others involved coming in part from being one of eight siblings. Selected to the ACC all-freshman team in 2012-13, Pavlech averaged four assists per game that season but can be a three-point threat if defenders give her space. Last season, Pavlech shot 36 percent from beyond the arc.
“Chloe at this point has earned the starting position,” Frese said. “But her and Brene, they’re going to play a ton of minutes. They’re going to play together. They’re going to back each other up. They’re two contrasting styles of point guards, so obviously based on different teams they’re going to lend to different things. They’ve both been really good in terms of running the team.”