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Defending champion Maryland picked to finish second in Big Ten women's basketball

Maryland wing Kaila Charles (5) and Eleanna Christinaki (10) cheer during Maryland Madness last week.
Maryland wing Kaila Charles (5) and Eleanna Christinaki (10) cheer during Maryland Madness last week. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

For the first time since joining the Big Ten Conference, the Maryland women's basketball team is not the league's preseason favorite. Not that it's far from the top, though.

The Terps were picked by the league's coaches to finish second, behind Ohio State, which last season denied Maryland its third straight outright regular-season title. The Terps later won the conference tournament, their sixth Big Ten championship in as many opportunities since their inaugural 2014-15 season.

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Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell was voted the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. Maryland sophomore wing Kaila Charles was one of 10 players named preseason All-Big Ten by both the league's coaches and a media panel.

Zoe Young's the second top recruit to commit to the Terps in the past week.

This season will be the toughest test yet of the Terps' dominance of the Big Ten, where they have lost just twice in three years, both times to the Buckeyes. All-Americans Brionna Jones (Aberdeen) and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough graduated after sterling careers in College Park, and Women's Basketball Coaches Association National Freshman of the Year Destiny Slocum transferred from Maryland to Oregon State in May.

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The Terps do return two-year starter Kristen Confroy at guard and a young supporting cast that includes sophomore forward Stephanie Jones (Aberdeen). Highly touted Florida transfer Eleanna Christinaki is expected to be eligible to play around midseason.

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