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No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball vs Wisconsin preview

The Terps are on the road for their second consecutive game as they look for their 12th straight win.

Indiana v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Following a 37-point win that was much closer than the final score line led on, No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball will take to the road once again to face Wisconsin Wednesday night.

The Terps held just a one-point halftime lead over cellar-dweller Penn State this past Sunday, eventually going on to out-score the Nittany Lions 60-24 in the subsequent 20 minutes of action.

But a closely-contested first half put a bit of a scare into Maryland fans after the team had blown out No. 19 Iowa 93-59 in the game prior, bringing into question whether the Terps had let their foot off the gas a bit against a lower opponent.

“Coach [Brenda Frese] just kind of challenged us in halftime to like focus and lock in,” senior guard Kaila Charles said. “So once we just came together, said ‘We need to just focus on defense’, everything started coming together.”

Now, Maryland plays back-to-back games on the road for just the second time this season after going 1-1 in its last back-to-back road trip earlier this year.

But the Terps’ opponent in Wisconsin comes in riding a four-game losing skid and has never defeated Maryland in seven tries all-time. And with No. 18 Northwestern and No. 19 Iowa still nipping at their heels for the top spot in the conference, the Terps can’t afford a slip-up in Madison.

“There’s still a lot at stake,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “We wanna get better every time we step on the court.”

Wednesday’s contest is set to tip-off at 8 p.m. ET and will be streamed on BTN Plus.

Wisconsin Badgers (11-15, 3-12 Big Ten)

Head coach Jonathan Tsipis has yet to put together a formidable Badger squad since taking over the helm in 2016, fielding just a 44-76 record in almost four seasons with the team while failing to ever crack the top-10 in the conference.

A former Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, Tsipis has struggled to adjust to the rigors of Big Ten women’s basketball and will need an impressive Big Ten tournament performance out of his team to salvage what’s been another difficult season for Wisconsin.

Players to Know

Sophomore forward Imani Lewis (No. 34) has been having a remarkable sophomore season after finishing second on the team in points per game her freshman year, leading the Badgers in scoring and rebounding this season with 14.9 points and 8.7 boards per contest.

As one of Wisconsin’s primary offensive threats, she’s scored in double-digits in all but two games this season, doing so at a relatively efficient 46.1 percent from the field.

Senior forward Abby Laszewski (No. 14) pairs with Lewis to form a respectable forward duo for the Badgers, adding an element of experience and composure down low to give Wisconsin a formidable front-court.

She trails only Lewis in points and rebounds this season at 12.2 and 6.7 per game, but currently has the team-lead for field goal percentage at 51.8 percent (min. 50 attempts).

Freshman guard Sydney Hilliard (No. 30) has had no issue stepping into a lead guard role in just her first season with the program, starting the last 18 games for Wisconsin after beginning the season on the bench.

In her nearly 27.0 minutes per contest, she’s averaged 9.7 points and 2.2 assists per game, providing a much needed scoring punch in the backcourt for the Badgers.


Taking care of the basketball. This struggling 2019-20 Wisconsin team hasn’t managed to excel in many facets of the game, but an area it can at least hang its hat on is its ability to limit turnovers.

The Badgers turn the ball over just 14.0 times per game, a mark that ranks just outside the top-60 in the nation and second in the Big Ten. Wisconsin’s aptness at avoiding turnovers should impact whether Frese decides to use her 1-2-2 full-court press on Wednesday.


Three-point shooting. If you’re looking for ways to beat the Badgers, forcing them to make shots from beyond the arc is a decent place to start. As team, Wisconsin has shot only 29.7 percent from three this season, putting them at 238th in Division I for that category.

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Stephanie Jones build on her Big Ten Player of the Week performance? The senior forward received her first Big Ten weekly honor after leading the Terps with 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 89.5 percent from the field (17-19 FG) over the past week.

With only five guaranteed games left her in Terp career, Jones is leaving it all out on the floor down the stretch for Maryland.

“It means a lot,” Jones said of the honor. “Seeing all the hard work I put in these past four years come to fruition and just seeing all my teammates be excited for me too, that was a great feeling.”

2. Can Maryland avoid another slow start? The Terps managed to rebound its last time out after letting Penn State hang around for the first 20 minutes of their last game, but will they be able to put the Badgers away quickly?

Certainly they’ve learned from their past experience, but letting an inferior team hang around for too long can give it the confidence it needs to pull off an upset.

“Loved our response at halftime,” Frese said. “We came out and played Maryland basketball ... just really proud of the response in the second half.”

3. Will Kaila Charles continue to play like the one of the best guards in the country? This week, posted an article highlighting the seven players who can impact the race to women’s basketball final four, with Charles’s name being mentioned among those listed.

It’s a high honor for the senior guard following a bit of a slow start to this season with the team, but Charles still has her focus on taking this Terp team as far as she can in her final season.

“I don’t necessarily pay attention to rankings and all that stuff, but it does mean a lot when I am recognized because it just shows how much of an impact I can make and it shows how much my teammates have helped me get to that level” Charles said. “I like the recognition, but I really don’t pay attention to it.”