Redshirt junior Katie Rutan will finally get to play with her Terrapin teammates this season after participating in practice but not in games all last year. Rutan transferred to Maryland after playing her first two seasons at Xavier, and the 5'8” guard can't wait to get on the floor for her new team.
“I don't think words can describe how excited I am,” Rutan said. “I've been waiting since March of 2011 to get to play in my next game, and it's just so surreal that I finally get to get back into it and into the game I love with teammates and coaches that I couldn't be more happy to be with.”
When speaking to reporters at the team's media day, Coach Brenda Frese said Rutan can “flat out shoot the basketball,” and that skill set will be the Pennsylvania native's main contribution to the team.
“I've always loved to shoot since I was little and I would always challenge myself to go farther,” Rutan said. “It helped that when I was younger I was a 4, but I stopped growing, and everyone kept growing, and the bigger they got the farther out I had to get to find room to create for myself. And I just love to shoot; everyone has confidence in me which gives me the green light, so you're going to see it fly this year.”
As for her role, Rutan expects to make an impact on the team's frontcourt players by posing an outside threat.
“I'm hoping to get more pressure off our post so they have more opportunities inside,” Rutan said. “Hopefully take away a double team from our drivers and Alyssa, because if they leave me open, what are they going to give up, a three or an and one? I think it helps our overall game just to spread the floor a little bit more.”
Frese likened this year's team to the National Champion 2006 team in terms of team chemistry, and Rutan said that even though she has yet to play a real game in a Terps uniform, she already feels at home with her new teammates.
“I think our personalities blend so well together that we're always spending time together; from team meals three to four times a week, especially during the summer, we'd all cook together, have team movies, we just genuinely love being around each other,” Rutan said. “I'm so content with who I'm around, they're my family.”
The team may need to rely on that chemistry to compensate for only having ten players on the roster. While there has been some buzz about depth concerns, Rutan isn't buying it.
“It's hard to say since it's so early what the challenges will be,” Rutan said. “We always pick up each other and I don't think depth is a problem because we're all competitors; if one person's not doing something, another person picks up so it's hard to say what's going to happen in the future.”
Rutan will be a timely addition to a Terrapins team that has already lost guard Brene Moseley to injury. And while her teammates were a little coy about Duke being ranked ahead of Maryland in ACC preseason predictions, Rutan admitted that the players noticed.
“Oh we care,” Rutan said. “It's always added fire that they're ahead of us. We want to be the top of the ACC and so it just gives us added motivation to push harder and practice and just be that better team.”