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Maryland women’s basketball routs Wisconsin, 75-57

The No. 11 Terps earn another convincing victory.

Maryland women’s basketball Kaila Charles vs. Georgia Tech Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Coming off its best performance in a month, Maryland women’s basketball had a ton of momentum entering Thursday night’s game against Wisconsin.

Kaila Charles had one of her best outings of the season, utilizing a strong second half to help the Terrapins pull away. The junior scored 22 points on just 10 field goals, hitting 80 percent of her shots and six of her seven free throws. Charles also added six rebounds and four assists, putting together an all-around performance.

After averaging less than five points per game since a Jan. 12 win over Michigan, Blair Watson stepped up to complement Charles. The junior guard finished second on the team with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, adding a three-pointer and five rebounds. Shakira Austin had 11 points as well on 12 field goal attempts, but she was a dominant force inside, leading the game with 10 rebounds.

Maryland had a successful night offensively, hitting the 70-point threshold once again thanks to a solid shooting performance. The Terrapins knocked down 49.2 percent of their field goals and seven of their 12 three-pointers.

Despite being 13th in the Big Ten standings, Wisconsin gave Maryland a fight early on. It took over a minute for either team to hit a basket when Jones’ jumper gave the Terps an early advantage, but the lead changed hands multiple times in the first few minutes of play. A pair of three-pointers from Taylor Mikesell and Watson saw the Terrapins take a six-point lead with three minutes to play, but that was cut to one by the end of the first period.

Kelly Karlis, one of three Badgers to score in double figures, scored 12 seconds into the second quarter to give the Badgers their last lead of the night. It lasted just 39 seconds, as the Terps were leading by six shortly after thanks to a pair of threes from Vujacic and Mikesell. For the final 6:11 of the half, Maryland either led by six points or eight as the teams simply traded baskets heading into the break.

Maryland’s lead quickly grew to double digits in the third quarter, utilizing a pair of quick baskets by Charles to take a 39-27 lead two minutes into the second half. Wisconsin cut the lead to just five points in the ensuing 90 seconds, but the Terrapins used quick offensive burst to get the lead back to 10. After some basket trading, they took a 52-41 advantage into the final period of play.

And once the fourth quarter hit, it was all Maryland, as the Terps grew the advantage to more than 20 points on multiple occasions. The lead hit 24 with two minutes to go, and a late push from the Badgers made the final score a bit more respectable by the final buzzer.

Maryland will be back in action on Monday, Feb. 4, heading to Illinois for a matchup with the Fighting Illini. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game can be watched on the Big Ten Network.

Three things to know

1. Another dominant fourth quarter. Outside of the two losses this season, Maryland has won mostly in part to strong final periods to either come back from a deficit or blow a team out of the water completely. That stayed true on Thursday, as the Terrapins started the fourth on a 9-0 run and eventually outscored the Badgers by a 23-16 margin.

2. Kaila Charles shined again. After scoring three and eight points in a one-week span in the middle of January, the junior broke out for a 25-point showing against Indiana over the weekend. Against Wisconsin, the team’s leading scorer had a second consecutive strong performance, leading all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

3. The Terps did their job. Wisconsin is no pushover, but they have a 2-8 conference record for a reason. It would’ve been easy for Maryland to have a letdown game after a great performance last time out against Indiana, but that never happened. The Terrapins led for all but three minutes of game time, and they wound up with a blowout victory by the end.