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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Illinois preview: Terps look to stay undefeated in Big Ten play

Maryland dominated the first matchup, and should cruise again in this one.

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

Maryland women’s basketball returns home to take on Illinois Thursday after two games on the road.

The Terps won both of their games last week, beating Purdue 85-70 and Indiana 92-56 to improve to 23-1 (11-0 Big Ten). Maryland continues to cruise through conference play, but that hasn’t done much for its NCAA tournament seed. After getting seeded at No. 9 in the committee’s first rankings on Jan. 23, the Terps stayed there in the committee’s most recent rankings. However, Maryland remained at No. 3 in Monday’s AP Poll and moved to No. 2 in Tuesday’s Coaches Poll following Baylor’s loss to Texas.

The Fighting Illini are currently on a six-game losing streak, which includes a 94-49 loss to Maryland in Champaign on Jan. 26. In that game, the Terps held Illinois to 29 percent shooting and every Maryland player played at least five minutes and scored at least five points.

The game will tip off at 7 p.m., and will be available on BTN Plus.

Illinois Fighting Illini (8-16, 3-8 Big Ten)

2015-16 record: 9-21, 2-16

Head coach: Matt Bollant is 60-88 in five seasons at Illinois.

Players to know

Alex Wittinger, sophomore, forward, 6’1, No. 3. Wittinger leads Illinois in points (15.6) and rebounds (8.1) per game, and her 2.4 blocks per game rank first in the Big Ten. She had 21 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-23 shooting and fouled out in the teams’ previous matchup.

Brandi Beasley, freshman, guard, 5’6, No.1. Along with Wittinger, Beasley is one of two players to start every game for the Illini this season. Her 13.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game each rank second on the team, and she averages a team-high four assists. She put up 14 points on 7-of-18 shooting in the first game.

Petra Holesinska, freshman, guard, 5’9, No. 13. She leads the team in three-point shooting with a 36.1 percent clip from behind the arc. Holesinska also averages 10.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. The freshman was a non-factor in the previous matchup, scoring five points on 2-of-8 shooting.


Foul shooting. Illinois’s .781 free-throw percentage ranks 10th in the nation. However, the Illini have only attempted 288 foul shots (12 per game) this season, which ranks 325th in all of Division I.


Rebounding. Illinois’s minus-5.0 rebounding margin ranks 299th in Division I and last in the Big Ten. Maryland has the best rebounding margin in the country at plus-16.1, and outrebounded the Illini 61-34 in the previous matchup.


Maryland wins, 100-55.