clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Maryland women’s basketball vs. Akron preview

New, 5 comments

The Terps end their road stretch against a first-time opponent.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Connecticut at Maryland Rafael Suanes-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball returns to the court Saturday when it travels to Ohio to take on Akron.

The Terps beat Virginia, 60-59, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday to extend their winning streak to four games. Maryland looked to be cruising to a victory after leading by 12 in the third quarter, but Virginia began to trim the deficit and took the lead in the fourth quarter. The game went back and forth after that, and Kaila Charles’ go-ahead layup with 40 seconds left gave Maryland the lead for good.

Charles and Stephanie Jones led the Terps with 13 points, and Kristen Confroy and Ieshia Small also scored in double figures. Speaking of Confroy, this game is a homecoming for the senior guard, who grew up 30 miles from Akron in Solon, Ohio. The team will visit Confroy’s house and will spend time with her family and friends on Friday night.

Akron is off to a 3-2 start, but has not played a major conference opponent so far this year. The Zips played against just one last year, losing to Penn State 84-71.

This is the first meeting between Maryland and Akron. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed on WatchESPN.

Akron Zips (3-2)

2016-17 record: 9-21, 2-16 MAC

Head coach Jodi Kest is 173-176 in 12 seasons at Akron. She’s the all-time winningest coach in Akron history, and before last year had lead the Zips to four straight postseason appearances. This is her 26th season as a head coach, and she’s one win away from 400 career victories.

Players to know

Megan Sefcik, redshirt junior, guard, 5’10, No. 11. Sefcik leads Akron with 12.8 points per game. She’s mainly a threat from long range, as she shoots 38.5 percent on three-pointers and has attempted 75 percent of her shoots from deep.

Shaunay Edmonds, sophomore, guard, 5’4, No. 3. Edmonds is averages eight points and a team-leading three assists a game. She’s been incredibly inefficient so far in 2017, shooting 25.5 percent from the field. Last year, she averaged 7.7 points and a team-high 3.8 assists per game.

Haliegh Reinoehl, sophomore, forward, 6’1, No. 5. Reinoehl is Akron’s main post presence, averaging 7.2 points and nine rebounds per game. Maryland has had issues with rebounding at times, and Reinoehl will be the main player to watch out for on the glass.

Strength

Defense. The Zips have held opposing teams to 34.4 percent shooting from the field this year, and have only allowed more than 70 points just once in the first five games. This is similar to Virginia’s style of play, which posed plenty of problems for the Terps on Wednesday.

Weakness

Offensive efficiency. As good as Akron is on defense, it is just as bad on offense. The Zips shoot 34.4 percent from the field and 28.8 percent on threes, so they need plenty of stops on defense just to stay in the game.

Three things to watch

1. Which style of play wins out? Akron’s brand of basketball is the same as Virginia’s, which means it will clash with the up-tempo style Maryland likes to play. Virginia was able to control the tempo Wednesday, but Akron is not on Virginia’s level, so Maryland should be able to control the tempo more.

2. How much does Brenda Frese extend the rotation? Frese crunched the rotation for the first time this season, sticking with mainly a six-player group after the second quarter. Depending on how the first half goes, the Terps could have much more room for error and have a more even minutes distribution.

3. How will Kristen Confroy do in her homecoming? In Miami, local residents Channise Lewis and Ieshia Small had their best moments in a Maryland uniform. Akron holds team to less than 30 percent three-point shooting, so Confroy may not have as prolific as a performance. Then again, athletes usually have more motivation when playing in fromt of familiar faces, so Confroy could have a memorable day.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 81-60.