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Takeaways from Maryland women’s basketball’s win over Illinois

Here’s what to know from the Terps’ win over the Fighting Illini on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Following a disappointing loss to Ohio State earlier in the week, Maryland women’s basketball bounced back on Saturday with a 90-82 win over Illinois.

Here are three takeaways from the Terps’ victory.

A close finish ended with a Maryland victory

The Terps entered the fourth quarter with just a three-point lead, and around the midpoint of the frame, the game was tied.

However, the Terps emerged victorious.

In contrast to their previous game against Ohio State, when Maryland struggled in the final minutes, this time it regained the lead and held onto it. Brown-Turner played a pivotal role in the offense, and collectively the Terps shot a remarkable 9-for-12 from the field, outscoring Illinois 30-25 in the fourth quarter. This achievement occurred despite the team accumulating four turnovers and six personal fouls.

What stood out most about the closeout was the Terps’ willingness to take calculated risks, going 3-for-3 on 3-pointers. They also displayed composure on their free throws, going 9-for-9 from the stripe to secure a victory.

It remains to be seen if the Terps can consistently close out tight games with this level of success, especially when shots aren’t always falling.

Maryland guard Shyanne Sellers likened the second half to that of the game against Ohio State, saying that the difference was “just being able to box out a little bit harder.”

“I think we’re just figuring out a way to steal games at the end,” she added.

Jakia Brown-Turner dazzled once again

Just a few games ago, Brown-Turner set a single-game career high for points at Maryland, scoring 18 against Purdue. She surpassed that mark Saturday afternoon, contributing 20 points for the Terps on 9-for-16 shooting.

Quietly assuming a major role, Brown-Turner logged 35 minutes, second only to Sellers. Additionally, her 10 rebounds and versatile length added a much-needed dimension to the game.

Brown-Turner’s impact was undeniable in the fourth quarter, where she scored 12 consecutive points, helping the Terps pull away from the Fighting Illini. She made both of her 3-point attempts in the frame, bouncing back from an airball in the third quarter to showcase her immense confidence.

“My coaches and teammates have confidence in me just to, you know, keep shooting when I’m open,” Brown-Turner said. “So just, you know, making the right play is all I want to do.”

Maryland operated with a short bench

Emma Chardon and Riley Nelson are sidelined for the rest of the season due to injuries, both originally part of head coach Brenda Frese’s originally planned 10-player rotation. With their absences, Frese has opted not to substitute anyone in their place, sticking to an eight-person rotation.

This has led to some players logging more substantial minutes. In Saturday’s game, Sellers and Brown-Turner each played 35 or more minutes, while Bri McDaniel and Lavender Briggs played at least 30 minutes. Notably, Emily Fisher, the eighth rotation player, only saw four minutes of play.

The Terps are essentially running a seven-player rotation.

While this approach resulted in four players scoring double-digit points, there’s a lingering question as to whether this style of play can withstand the challenging weeks ahead, featuring matchups against formidable Big Ten opponents.