The Maryland women’s basketball team recorded its most convincing win in weeks with a 94-49 victory Thursday at Illinois.
After a string of four games that included some sort of intrigue, Maryland (20-1, 8-0 Big Ten) held a convincing lead for almost the entirety of this contest. The No. 3 Terps jumped ahead with a 14-0 run in the first quarter and never looked back.
All 12 Terps scored at least five points, and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the way with 14 points and nine rebounds. Brionna Jones joined her in double figures with 11, but hauled in just five rebounds to end a streak of 10 straight double-doubles. Even without Jones consistently dominating inside, Maryland won the rebound battle 61-34.
Illinois’ Alex Wittinger and Brandi Beasley scored 21 and 14, respectively. They were the only two Illini in double figures, though, and the team only brought nine players onto the floor. Illinois went 1-of-15 from downtown and had only three assists in the game (Maryland had 21).
The Terps separated themselves with a 14-0 run in the first quarter and led 21-10 through one. They steadily dominated the second quarter and entered the half with a 44-22 advantage.
The first half was played at a quick pace, and Maryland didn’t shoot well, connecting on just 37 percent of shots from the field and just 2-of-14 from three. But the Terps dominated the boards, pulling down an astounding 37 rebounds in the half to Illinois’ 16.
Maryland didn’t let up in the second half. The Terps led 73-32 through three quarters, and their defense forced Illinois to miss 14 straight shots in the period. With all the Maryland reserves playing the fourth, the Illini managed much better, but it didn’t matter.
This win draws similarities to the blowouts against Nebraska and Northwestern from early in the month; the previous four games—against Penn State, Iowa, Michigan and Rutgers—were all within reach into the second half.
In the Terps’ first game since being ranked No. 9 in the selection committee’s initial seed list, their play suggested they belong at least a little higher.
Three things to know
1. Maryland used its depth early and often. All 12 Terps saw the floor in the first half, with nine playing at least five minutes and 10 getting on the scoreboard. By the end of the game, everyone had played between seven and 22 minutes and everyone had scored. Maryland got 44 points from its bench; Illinois had two.
2. The Terps struggled from deep early on, but picked it up. Maryland hit just two of its 14 three-point attempts in the first half, but went 5-for-8 after the break. Destiny Slocum and Kristen Confroy hit two shots each from beyond the arc.
3. Brionna Jones’ double-double streak was the lone casualty. Her 10-game run is over, although that’s probably the least of Maryland’s concerns. Jones and many of the Terps’ starters had been used heavily in recent games, and Thursday’s rout allowed Frese to keep everyone under 23 minutes.