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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Wisconsin preview

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The Terps look to keep their strong conference season going.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Bridgeport Regional-Maryland vs Oregon David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball didn’t miss a beat when the calendar flipped to 2018, as the Terps continued their winning ways with an 80-64 win over No. 18 Iowa.

Kaila Charles led the way with 24 points on 10-22 shooting, posting a game high in both points scored and field goals made. Channise Lewis was the leading distributor for the Terps with eight assists, and she also scored 11 points thanks to a 3-of-6 shooting performance from long range.

That win brought Maryland’s record to 14-2 on the season and 3-0 in the Big Ten, sitting just behind Rutgers for first place in the conference standings. The team is currently No. 13 in the AP and Coaches Polls, but this win over a ranked opponent should give them a bump in next week’s rankings.

Now the Terrapins will travel to Madison to face off against the last-ranked Badgers currently on a four-game losing streak after they fell 80-57 to Michigan at home. The game will start 3 p.m. ET at the Kohl Center and can be seen on BTN Plus.

Wisconsin Badgers (7-9, 0-3 Big Ten)

2016-17 record: 9-22, 2-13

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis is only in his second season at Wisconsin, but he coached for four years at George Washington. Even with a lean first year and a half at his new post, his career record is 108-69 (.610). That’s all thanks to the great success he achieved in the A-10, winning consecutive conference titles and making back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. He also won the 2015 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year Award.

Players to know

Cayla McMorris, senior, guard, 6’0, No. 23. The Badgers live and die with McMorris’ scoring. She leads the team with 14.1 points per game and a .404 shooting percentage from deep, the latter of which has her ranked eighth in the conference. She’s also one of the most decorated recruits in Wisconsin’s recent history.

Marsha Howard, junior, forward, 5’10, No. 11. Howard is the only other Badger who averages at least 10 points, as she scores 10.8 per contest. She is also the leading rebounder for Tsipis’ team with 7.5 boards per game (including 2.6 on the offensive glass).

Strength

Stopping offensive rebounds. One of the few things this Badgers team does extremely well is limit opposing offensive rebounds. Their defensive rebounding percentage is .729, which leads the conference in that category. They will have a tough task ahead of them, though, as they’ll face Kaila Charles and Stephanie Jones, the third and eighth best offensive rebounders in the Big Ten.

Weakness

Three-point shooting. Despite the success of McMorris from behind the arc, the rest of the Badgers team has been putrid with their shooting. In addition to being last in the conference, they rank 247th in the entire nation. If this Badgers team wants to keep things close against a powerhouse like Maryland, hitting threes will be essential.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 87-58