Faith Masonius isn’t just a basketball player, she’s the mother of the Maryland team


As the so-called “mom” of the Maryland women’s basketball team, Senior Faith Masonius wants to make one thing clear.

“I don’t have a minivan. Abby (Meyers) has the minivan,” says Masonius, laughing as she does for most of our conversation. “I drive a Honda CR-V.”

She is one of 10 children and the daughter of a basketball coach. It is natural that Masonius wants to bring people together. While her teammate can drive the mother mobile, Masonius can still “push a lot of people into the back seat of my car” if someone needs to be driven to the store. Or the team wants to go bowling. Or enjoy dinner in College Park. And like any good mother, Masonius plays many roles with the Terrapins.

Not only is she the chauffeur, but she’s also the conductor in the backseat in the Maryland Defense Zone matchups.

She welcomes new terps to the family and teaches her roommate and standout sophomore, Shyanne Sellers, how to do makeup.

She’s doing the things that will never shine on a stat sheet, and she’s the overlooked reason the Greenville 1-area No. 2 could do better at this NCAA tournament than he did a year ago.

“You don’t really realize how much Faith brings until she’s gone, and you could tell that last year,” Sellers said of Masonius, who lost for the 2021-22 season in early January with a serious knee injury. “Now she’s back on the pitch and it’s great to have her back. She’s really playing with everything she’s got and never missed a beat.”

Of course, when the Terrapins host No. 7 Arizona in the second round on Sunday, eyes will follow senior guard Diamond Miller, the second-team All-American blessed with speed and agility, but also a wild team, opponents should never cross. As well as Sellers, who has improved her all-around game from her freshman year to now. And even Meyers, the Princeton transfer, whose Ivy League game fitted perfectly into coach Brenda Frese’s system. But don’t forget Masonius.

She covers up the scars she got from the worst time of her life with braces. But that doesn’t stop them from moving and talking — talking So a lot — on the defensive end, they bark switches and call for screens the way a mother might nag her kids when they pick up their socks. She will be a trainer one day. For now, Masonius is content to be the 22-year-old matriarch of Maryland.

“You can see how much we missed Faith last year. She’s the glue player, unsung heroine, and just plain our grit, junk. I loved watching her initiate the start for us on the defensive end,” Frese said Friday after Maryland’s 93-61 first-round win over Holy Cross.

In that game, Masonius accumulated three steals in the first seven minutes and scored eight points. Twice as many as the Holy Cross team combined in the first quarter. Maryland overwhelmed their opponent with 24 turnovers and opened a 36-point lead before the game ended mercifully.

“Faith set the tone,” Frese said. “I love the fact that she was right there on the defensive with the three steals and that’s how we want to play.”

No. 2 Maryland crushes No. 15 Holy Cross in the first round of the NCAA tournament

A year ago, Masonius watched from the sidelines during the March run in Maryland that ended in the Sweet 16. Her season was lost when she tore the ACL in her left leg on the second day of 2022. Maryland was playing a conference game in Indiana when Masonius stole a pass and went down without contact with anyone.

“It was definitely tough at times,” Masonius says, downplaying the surgery and everything that followed.

Ellen Masonius has a different reaction. More than a year later, she moans and tears fill her eyes as she remembers her daughter’s injury. Ellen needs a pause of about six seconds before she can talk about it. Then Ellen describes the silent struggles with a breaking voice.

The sixth child in the birth order, Faith was raised to be independent. However, by nature she watched over others. She was maybe two years younger than her sister Addie, but constantly reminded her to pack all her necessities before leaving for basketball practice. In middle school, she was the teenage drill sergeant doing running exercises before it was time for Ellen, the team’s coach, to teach plays – with Faith helping, of course.

Then, when her sophomore teacher went into cardiac arrest, Faith went into crisis mode and took control of the situation. She yelled at one student to run to the nurse and directed another to get a teacher to a nearby classroom, Ellen recalled. (The teacher’s life was saved).

But in her own moment, Masonius wanted to isolate. Just try to get through and find the next way forward without straining their trunk.

“She didn’t really communicate with us much. I would see Karen [Blair], [and she would say]: ‘Faith was in tears today,'” Ellen said, recalling a conversation with the Maryland assistant coach.

During her rehab, Masonius turned to TikTok and, like many other young people, began chronicling her life, even posting makeup tutorials and the occasional glimpse of her feelings. But her Maryland teammates didn’t leave Masonius, who had been helping recruits and working to bring the team together since her freshman year. Chloe Bibby, a graduate student on the 2021-22 team, rubbed her leg and taught her rehab tricks as she also suffered a cruciate ligament tear. Masonius’ roommate was also constantly present.

“Having her there really helped a lot. I mean, Shyanne brought me a friggin’ wheelchair!” Masonius says, “and spun me around!”

The Terps women turned a transitional year into a title opportunity

During games, Masonius would sit behind the bench where she could watch the game from a different perspective. Hearing her coaches and watching her teammates on the floor only fueled her desire to one day manage her own team. Masonius is now back on the floor as a full-time participant, applying what she learned a year ago.

“Taking that experience off the pitch gave me that drive and passion to want to do my best on the pitch,” she says. “And doing my best means doing my best, playing hard and doing the little things.”

Masonius will never lead the set chasing fast guards, but she moves effectively and makes sure her teammates hear her voice, a small but crucial element of basketball when Maryland’s defense switches from one look to another.

“Faith is definitely like our quarterback. On defense, she’s always telling people where to go. Sometimes too much where she loses her husband,” Sellers said with a smile. “But she always tries to help everyone defensively. Telling people when to switch, always doing their bit to try and push through. That is really her role.”

other role? Turning Sellers into an unknowing co-star of her tutorials.

“I get them to do TikToks with me,” Masonius says of Sellers. “I’ve done her makeup before, but she won’t let me take videos of it… [Sellers] doesn’t like it when people touch their eyes, so [when] I was trying to put eyelashes on and she was like, ‘Take them off!'”

Perhaps Sellers will allow Masonius to post these clips later. The two should spend more time together. Due to Covid and the redshirt that followed her injury, Masonius has two more years of eligibility to play after this season. If she decides to play both years, she might want to consider upgrading to one of these minivans.

“Right now they call her the mother. I wonder what they’re going to call her in two years time,” joked Ellen. “She could already be a grandmother by this point.” Faith Masonius isn’t just a basketball player, she’s the mother of the Maryland team

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