By Jacob Keith | @Jacob Keith
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS — As the sound of the confetti cannons bursts into her ear and the trophy is placed into her coach’s hands, the thrill of victory fills Ashley Owusu. Winning never gets old, even though she is used to it. Owusu won four state titles at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia, and now, as a freshman at the University of Maryland, she led Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament championship team as a freshman. “No moment is too big for her,” said her coach, Brenda Frese.
It doesn’t end there for Owusu. She was named Big Ten Freshman of the year, made the All-Big Ten Second Team and made the Big Ten All-Tourney team. On Sunday night, during the celebration that followed Maryland’s 82-65 victory over Ohio State, Owusu won the inaugural Jim and Kitty Delany Most Outstanding Player Award. “I give all the credit to my teammates and coaches,” Owusu said. “I come in every day and they push me to my best ability, and they have a lot of confidence in me.”
After Maryland lost consecutive Big Ten title games – the school’s only tournament losses in six years as a conference member — the third time was the charm. Listed at 6 feet, Owusu is a point guard who can score against any team.
It wasn’t until the tournament that Owusu decided to take games into her own hands. After averaging 11 points throughout the season, she scored 14, 15, and 17 points during her three games in the tourney.
When asked about her hot scoring streak, Owusu said, “I’ve been staying confident and staying focused.”
It doesn’t end there for the young point guard from Virginia, she has also shown her skill, and maturity, as a passer. Osusu had 24 assists in the three tournament victories, including a career-high 11 in the championship game. Her total equaled the championship game record set by Maryland’s Channise Lewis in 2019.
In games against Purdue and Ohio State, Owusu ran the offense through her and had a double double with assists in both games, all while coming off the bench.
“I’ve just been keeping my head up and reading the defense,” Owusu said of her passing.
According to Owusu, she would be nowhere without the seniors.
“I’m a young player coming into a great program,” she said. “They’ve helped me become the leader I am today.”
The seniors love her back. “She’s amazing,” said senior Stephanie Jones. “The defense always has to look for her when she’s on the floor. She’s tough.”
With the NCAA tournament arriving, some coaches would be worried about consistent production from a freshman, Frese is not. “I’m not worried at all,” Frese said. “She keeps continuing to get better and better every time she gets on the court.”
Ashley Owusu is now five for five in tournaments since high school. As the Terrapins begin to prepare for the NCAA tournament, she said, “It would mean everything
Coming out and winning a national championship team would be awesome.”
Frese would agree. “Elite level players want to be in these moments,” she said. “And Ashley is made for these moments.”