Maryland women’s basketball has been far from perfect thus far. The No. 11-ranked Terrapins have dropped two games already in conference play and needed strong fourth quarters to win several other contests. After getting back in the win column against Penn in College Park, the Terps took down Ohio State on the road Thursday.
The Buckeyes had presented a tough test the first time around this season on Jan. 5, but they were going to be without their best player in freshman center Dorka Juhasz. However, Ohio State seemed to manage just fine without its leading scorer and rebounder. A scoring run led by Carly Santoro actually tied the score late in the third quarter, and it took a convincing finish for the Terrapins to leave the state of Ohio with a double-digit victory.
Maryland won’t be coming home just yet, as the road trip will continue to Bloomington for a matchup against the Hoosiers. Sunday’s tipoff is scheduled for noon ET and the game can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
Indiana Hoosiers (16-4, 5-3 Big Ten)
2017-18 record: 23-14, 9-7
Head coach Teri Moren is in her fifth season in charge of the Hoosiers, having previously headed the programs at the University of Indianapolis and Indiana State. Moren has spent most of her basketball career within the state of Indiana, playing at Purdue and serving as an assistant for six years at Butler.
Players to know
Ali Patberg, redshirt junior, guard, 5’11, No. 14. Patberg began her collegiate career at Notre Dame, but tore her ACL at the start of her freshman year in 2015. She scarcely played as a sophomore and ultimately decided to take her talents elsewhere. After coming to Bloomington, she took a redshirt season per NCAA transfer rules. But now that she’s playing without limitation, Patberg has been the leader of the Hoosiers thus far. She leads the squad with 16.3 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the floor, and the guard also ranks second with 5.7 rebounds per game.
Jaelynn Penn, sophomore, guard, 5’10, No. 13. Penn made waves as a freshman, being named to the Big Ten all-freshman team a year ago. Now with another year of experience under her belt, she has been even better for the Hoosiers. Penn ranks second on the team with 13.4 points per game while making 43.6 percent of her field goals. She’s been effective from long range as well, leading the team with 32 made three-pointers while hitting them at a 39 percent clip.
Shooting. No matter where the Hoosiers are on the court, they’ve been effective at shooting the basketball at an efficient rate. Indiana currently hits 44.1 percent of its field goals, placing it in the upper echelon of Big Ten teams. The Hoosiers’ 36.8 percent from three-point territory ranks third in the conference, and a .756 clip from the free-throw line is second only to Iowa.
Size. Indiana is one of the smallest teams in the Big Ten, possessing just three players above 6’0 who have played at all this season. Of those, only Kym Roster at 6’2 has played more than 20 minutes per game, and she’s averaged 20.6. As such, the Hoosiers have had difficulties with rebounding, placing in the bottom of the conference in rebounding margin. And on the defensive end, Indiana averages just 3.1 blocks per game, which is last in the Big Ten.
Three things to know
1. Will Kaila Charles bounce back? In the loss to Michigan State a week and a half ago, Maryland’s leading scorer vanished due to foul trouble. In the bounceback win over Penn State, it seemed that all was right with the world, as Charles scored 19 points on just 11 field goals to lead the Terps to victory. But this past Thursday, the junior once again racked up four personal fouls and finished with just eight points and four field-goal attempts. If the Terps want to win this one without much stress, Charles will need to right the ship once again.
2. Can Shakira Austin find a rhythm? She’s just a freshman, so it’s important to give her some leeway as she develops into the player Brenda Frese thinks she can be. But Austin’s shooting woes have been very prevalent this season—she hits just 45.8 percent of her field goals, very low for a 6’5 center, and she’s made only 44.3 percent of her free throws. Against Ohio State on Thursday, she went a paltry 2-of-9 from the line.
3. Can Maryland dominate on the glass? The Terrapins led the country in rebounding throughout the nonconference slate, but once Big Ten play started up, they’ve had a rude awakening in learning what it takes to be more physical than opponents. Against an Ohio State team missing its leading rebounder, the Terps had just a 35-31 advantage on the boards, and that was only due to a strong second half. The Hoosiers don’t have nearly the size Maryland does, and the Terps need to be able to take advantage of that.