No. 15 Maryland women’s basketball (9-3, 1-1 Big Ten) last took the court on Dec. 11, when it defeated now-No. 9 UConn for the first time in program history, 85-78.
Following the huge win, Maryland is up to three wins against ranked opponents this season, tied with three other teams for the most in the country. Its opening 12 contests gave it the third-most difficult strength of schedule in Division 1, per RPI via WarrenNolan.com.
The chaotic start to the slate takes a step back now, though, with Maryland only playing two games in two weeks. The Terps’ first of the two tests comes against IPFW (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), Wednesday at 11 a.m.
They’ll look to improve to 3-0 on the season in the state of Indiana. Streaming will be available on ESPN+.
IPFW Mastodons (4-7, 1-1 Horizon League)
Head coach Maria Marchesano took over this struggling program last season, leading the Mastodons to their winningest season since the 2014-15 campaign with nine wins.
A little past the quarter-way point of this season, she has her team almost halfway to last season’s win total. However, it’s currently riding a three-game losing streak, and Wednesday’s matchup is its last game before it begins conference play.
The Mastodons rarely play power conference opponents, with Maryland being only its sixth opponent of the kind in the past five seasons. They are winless in the previous six games with the losses coming by an average of over 32 points.
It’ll take a historical day for IPFW to compete with No. 15 Maryland, with these teams last meeting 20 years ago in an 84-50 Maryland win.
Players to watch
Amellia Bromenschenkel, junior guard, five-foot-11, No. 13 — On a team that struggles to score, Bromenschenkel has been a lone offensive contributor. She’s stepped into this role after being a secondary scorer last season, averaging just under seven points a game. She’s logged double digits in seven of IPFW’s 11 games and leads the team with 13.2 points per game.
Shayla Sellers, senior guard, six-foot, No. 1 — Sister of Maryland sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers, Shayla will look to outduel her sister in front of what Shyanne said should be around 20 family and friends. Shayla is a four-year starter at IPFW and was named to the All-Horizon League third team last season. She’s coming off a 19-point performance against Indiana State, her season-best.
“I’ll be a little annoying in her ear,” Shyanne said when asked what banter there will be if she’s matched up with her sister.
Ryin Ott, sophomore guard, five-foot-10, No. 4 — A talented two-way guard, Ott had a stellar freshman campaign, starting in 17 of 20 games played and earning a spot on the Horizon League All-Freshman Team. The sophomore has started every game this season, averaging 7.5 points per contest and securing a steal in all but two.
Home-court advantage. The Mastodons are 4-1 at home this season, compared to an 0-6 mark in road and neutral-site games. They’re averaging close to 75 points at home, but that number drops to 51.5 points per game on the road. Their stars show up at Gates Center, with Bromenschenkel and Sellers combining for just under 30 points per game in their arena.
Scoring. IPFW’s scoring options are limited, and it hasn’t eclipsed the 65-point mark in any of its past seven games. With only two reliable scorers, Maryland will likely have its way in containing a Mastodon squad that relies on the three, attempting 29 shots from behind the arc per game but averaging under eight makes.
Three things to watch
1. Indiana magic. Maryland’s success in the Hoosier state has been well-documented this season, and it has come with a dramatic flare. It upset No. 5 Notre Dame, 74-72, in South Bend on a step-back buzzer-beater by senior guard Diamond Miller. A week later, it stunned Purdue, 77-74, in West Lafayette — a two-hour drive south from South Bend — as sophomore guard Shyanne Sellers hit a game-winner of her own in the final seconds. Will the Terps keep the magic rolling?
2. Maryland should be able to sustain its high-level play. IPFW has struggled to score against much weaker opponents than Maryland, and it’ll be tough sledding for the Mastodons to break that slump against the No. 15 Terps. The Terps are looking to bring their winning streak to three while the Mastodons look to avoid four straight losses.
3. Another break on the horizon. Wednesday’s matchup ends a 10-day break for finals, and then the Terps will go on another long break of nine days for the holidays before starting the final stretch of Big Ten play.
“We’re looking forward to get into IPFW for a special homecoming game for the Sellers family,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “And then we’ll be looking to have a nice, well-deserved holiday break for everyone.”