COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland women’s basketball team is No. 4 in the Associated Press Preseason Poll, making this the 12th straight year head coach Brenda Frese’s squad has opened the season ranked in the Top 25, the team announced Tuesday.

On Monday, the men’s team came in at No. 21, the fifth time in the past seven seasons Mark Turgeon’s Terps have been ranked before the first tip-off.

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The women’s team is returning all five starters and all eight of its best scorers, led by junior guards Ashley Owusu and Diamond Miller, who both averaged more than 17 points per game.

Last year’s team finished the regular season 24-2 and captured the Big Ten title after going 17-1 in conference play, but the Terps were upset in the NCAA Tournament by Texas in the Sweet Sixteen, 64-61.

The Terps will face multiple major tests before the start of conference play with three straight games against Top 10 opponents during a seven-day stretch in late November, including a matchup against defending national champion Stanford, ranked No. 3. They’ll also face No. 1 South Carolina in a Dec. 12 road matchup.

Four other Big Ten teams are in the AP Preseason Poll: No. 8 Indiana, No. 9 Iowa, No. 11 Michigan and No. 17 Ohio State.

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The women’s team starts the season Nov. 9 with a game against Longwood at the XFINITY Center.

On the men’s side, senior All-Big Ten guard Eric Ayala, who averaged 15.1 points per game, returns this year along with junior forward Donta Scott and junior guard Hakim Hart.

Last year’s team finished the regular season 16-13 and was thumped by Alabama in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, 96-77.

Turgeon’s roster is bolstered by four transfers, headlined by former Georgetown forward Qudus Wahab, who averaged 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, and Rhode Island point guard Fatts Russell, who averaged 14.7 points and 4.5 assists per game on his way to All-A10 honors.

The Maryland men are one of five Big Ten teams in the Top 25, including No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Purdue, No. 11 Illinois and No. 17 Ohio State.

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Maryland opens the season on Nov. 9 with a home game against Quinnipiac.

CBS Baltimore Staff