Diamond Miller returned to a Maryland team with mostly new faces. She’s shining in the spotlight that came with that decision.
Within two weeks of their 2022 NCAA Tournament loss to Stanford, Maryland coach Brenda Frese was staring at a drastically different roster for 2023.
Maryland’s top two scorers, Angel Reese and Ashley Owusu, were gone. Their leading bench scorer, Mimi Collins, was gone, too. All three, along with reserves Taisiya Kozlova and Channise Lewis, left the program via the transfer portal.
Frese had just four players returning.
She was able to use the transfer portal to fill the holes she had on the roster, but there were questions about how she could possibly replace the production she lost.
Enter Diamond Miller.
Shining senior: Diamond Miller has stepped up for Maryland
Diamond Miller is not a new name in the college hoops world. Her talent has always been apparent and shone through on some incredibly talented rosters. Now, as a senior, she has a chance to prove that she is capable of being the undeniably best player on a great team.
So far, she is doing exactly that.
Miller has returned to form after a down junior season in which she missed the first 12 games due to injury. She never quite found her rhythm, despite being the team’s third-highest scorer. She finished last season averaging 13.1 points per game, but on .408/.315/.768 shooting splits, all of which were notable drops from the previous season.
Through her first eight games as a senior, though, Miller is averaging a career-high 19.3 points per game, a full two points above her previous high of 17.3. She is also rebounding the ball at a career-high rate, snagging 7.6 boards per game.
Standing at six-foot-three, Miller presents a unique mismatch for her opponents. She plays guard, and often overwhelms her matchups with her size and length. When her outside shot isn’t falling (26% on the season so far), she probes her way inside, creating mismatches in the post. That length also makes Miller a very disruptive defender, as she is averaging 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
Pressure makes diamonds
As great as Miller has been in all eight games, she has elevated her game when her team has needed her most. Against the two ranked opponents she played against this year, she is averaging 31.5 points, 11 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 blocks, and 1.5 steals. Her efficiency goes up in these games as well; she shot 11-for-21 in both games.
Along with her increased production, Miller has had some huge moments in these games, too. Her 32-point performance against Baylor was a career high and part of a week that won her Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career.
Against Notre Dame, Miller led Maryland in points, rebounds, and assists. She became the first Maryland player to post 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a game since Alyssa Thomas in 2013. Oh, and she hit the game-winner.
Diamon Miller has been impressive on multiple levels for Maryland
By all accounts, last season was a tough one for Maryland. Frese, other coaches, and multiple players have all alluded to difficulties behind the scenes. For Miller to not only have stayed through those circumstances, but to also emerge in such a fashion speaks volumes about her as a player, a person, and a leader.
For a team with a deep tournament run in mind, Miller has been everything they’ve needed and more. If she sustains this level of performance for the rest of the year, Maryland could break their streak of Sweet Sixteen losses, and Miller would be a lock for a WNBA lottery pick.
There’s still a lot of season left, though. Maryland and Miller will be must-see TV for the rest of it.