Maryland women’s basketball’s comeback bid Wednesday night against No. 10 Indiana fell short in an 87-73 loss, and the Terps won’t get much reprieve from the grind of the Big Ten in their next game.
Just four days later, they will look to snap a three-game skid when Caitlin Clark and No. 3 Iowa travel to a sold-out XFINITY Center.
The game is set for 8 p.m on Saturday and will be televised on FOX.
No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes (20-2, 9-1 Big Ten)
While much of the focus the last few seasons has surrounded Clark’s play, head coach Lisa Bluder has built a championship team around her star player.
The former Naismith Coach of the Year has her squad yet again at the top of the Big Ten, a common pick to reach the national championship game for the second straight season.
Players to know
Caitlin Clark, senior guard, 6-foot, No. 22 — The reigning national player of the year is selling out arenas and changing the game. She has her team once again contending for a championship.
Clark has been nothing short of spectacular in her four seasons with the Hawkeyes, and she leads Division I this season with averages of 32.1 points and 7.7 assists per game. Her 115 made 3-pointers also lead the nation.
Hannah Stuelke, sophomore forward, 6-foot-2, No. 45 — Stuelke has taken a step up after being named the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year last season. The second-year forward is averaging 12.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 61.5% from the field.
Kate Martin, graduate guard, 6-foot, No. 20 — A crucial player for the Hawkeyes, Martin has had a significant role for the last three seasons. This year, she’s averaging 12.4 points and six rebounds per game. She’s coming off back-to-back 16-point outings.
Offense. Iowa’s 91.8 points per game leads the country, and it’s not just Clark who can knock down buckets at will. The Hawkeyes lead the conference in assists and also rank top-five in the nation in shooting percentage.
Second-chance opportunities. Even though Iowa is second in the Big Ten in rebounds per game, it tends to struggle on the offensive glass. The Hawkeyes bring down 10.6 offensive rebounds per game, ninth-best in the Big Ten.
Three things to watch
1. Recouping Sellers’ production. While Maryland’s result against Indiana wasn’t a positive one, it offered a first look at the Terps without guard Shyanne Sellers this season. On a positive note, they looked far better in the second half.
2. Trying to recapture the magic. Last season, the Terps — ranked No. 7 nationally at the time — steamrolled the Hawkeyes in College Park, 96-68. Iowa took the other two meetings during the season.
A lot has changed since that matchup, and the Terps are deservedly underdogs. Also, Sellers was the primary defender on Clark last season. A loser of three straight, Maryland will need to put forth its best performance of the season Saturday if it wants a fighting chance.
3. Home-court advantage? Maryland’s usual home-court prowess has taken a step back this year. The Terps have already lost as many games at home this season as they did all of last season, and with four home games left, Iowa will look to hand the Terps their third loss at XFINITY Center in their past four games.