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No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball vs. No. 14 Ohio State preview

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After an eight day break between games, the Terps will look to become 3-0 against ranked Big Ten teams this season.

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

Looking for its 11th straight win, No. 7 Maryland women’s basketball (11-1) will face the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes in on the road Monday.

Maryland was forced into another long break between games after a Jan. 21 contest against Iowa was postponed. The Terps last played on Jan. 17 against Wisconsin, in which Maryland struggled with its efficiency but pulled out the 79-70 road win.

Now, the Terps sit atop the Big Ten with a perfect 7-0 conference record. Maryland has slowly been creeping up the national rankings and the team keeps pulling out win after win in a very tough conference to compete in.

“Our chemistry is just on the next level,” forward Faith Masonius said. “We’re all very close on and off the court, so that definitely helps play a factor in how we played together.”

Maryland last took on Ohio State in the 2020 Big Ten Tournament Championship game, where the Terps came out on top with a 17-point victory.

“Obviously two teams that I think have always enjoyed our meetings together, they’re always highly competitive, go back-and-forth,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. I mean obviously we met them in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament last year. Now, it’s an opportunity for us in January to see where both teams are at.”

Monday’s game between these two Big Ten teams will tip-off on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.

“I’m excited for this matchup,” Frese said. “You know, it’s a top-25 matchup against a really good team.”

Let’s take a look at what Maryland is up against in Ohio State.

No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten)

2019-20 record: 21-12 (11-7 Big Ten)

Head coach Kevin McGuff has been at the helm of the Buckeyes since 2013 after becoming the eighth coach in program history. At the end of the 2019-20 season, McGuff had the Buckeyes’ fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament, where Ohio State was projected as a fifth, sixth or seventh seed. The Buckeyes won 10 of their final 13 games last season before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play.

This season, the Buckeyes sit fourth in the Big Ten rankings behind Maryland, Indiana and Michigan. Ohio State won seven of its first eight games to start the 2020-21 season and most recently pulled out a 81-77 win against Michigan to capture its eighth win on the year.

Players to know

Jacy Sheldon, sophomore guard, 5’10, No. 4 — Sheldon is easily the Buckeyes’ best option on the offensive end and the Terps will have to concentrate its defensive effort around her. The sophomore is leading Ohio State in scoring with 17.7 per game and has started in every game this season. The former five-star prospect has completely grown into her game in just her second collegiate season, as she shoots a dazzling 52.1% from the field, which is easily the most efficient shooting clip on the Buckeyes’ roster.

Sheldon is also a threat from deep, as she has made 38.3% of her attempts from behind the arc this year. She’ll likely be all over the floor for the Buckeyes and will need a solid performance if Ohio State hopes to upset Maryland at home.

Dorka Juhasz, junior forward, 6’4, No. 14 — Juhasz was awarded a 2020 First Team All-Big Ten accolade last season and has picked up exactly where she left off. In six games this season for the Buckeyes, the Hungary native averages the second-most points per game on the roster with 16.3. She is a very efficient offensive weapon on the floor for the Buckeyes with a solid 48.2% shooting clip.

However, Juhasz’s role for Ohio State against the Terps will be catered towards her ability to rebound the ball. She averages a team-high 10.2 rebounds and will need to be on top of her game on the glass when the tall Terps’ roster comes to town.

Madison Greene, sophomore guard, 5’8, No. 0 — Greene is another strong player for this Buckeyes’ roster and will certainly be a major part of the Ohio State game plan come Monday. She has started all nine games for the Buckeyes this season and averages the second-most minutes on the floor for their roster. Greene is third on the team with 14.0 points per game and she’s able to impact the game on both ends of the floor. The sophomore has the most steals on the team with 16 and she also has the most amount of assists on the Buckeyes. Her playmaking abilities on the offensive end and her quick hands on defense will certainly be a factor.

Strength

Defending three-point attempts. Ohio State is a very good team that can defend its opponent’s long range game. The Buckeyes allow just 5.1 three-pointers per game to their opponents on just 23.2% shooting. The Terps are a team that thrives on its shooting from behind the arc, as Maryland averages nearly nine three-pointers per game with nearly 40% shooting.

Weakness

Three-point shooting. Despite doing a great job defending the three, the Buckeyes struggle to score from behind the arc on the offensive end. Ohio Stare shoots just 31.7% from three as a team and will need to improve that mark if it hopes to keep up with the high-flying Terps.

Three things to watch

1. Will another slow start come back to bite the Terps? In the last two games against Minnesota and Wisconsin, Maryland seemed to struggle in the early portions of each contest. More recently, the Terps shot just 36.8% from the field in the opening quarter against the Badgers. Besides Chloe Bibby’s perfect 5-for-5 shooting in the quarter, Maryland shot just 2-for-14 from the field as a team.

With a tougher string of competition on its way with the likes of No. 16 Ohio State coming up next, Maryland will need to come out quicker to start their games. It’s only a matter of time before another slow start puts Maryland in danger and it’ll most likely be a priority for Frese to figure out a way for the Terps to start hot against the Buckeyes.

2. What kind of impact will Mimi Collins have after dominating last game? After collecting a career-high 17 rebounds in the Terps’ last game against Wisconsin, Mimi Collins is clearly growing into a solid role for Frese’s roster. The 6-foot-3 redshirt sophomore has stepped in nicely in the absence of star freshman forward Angel Reese, who is currently out with a foot injury. Collins is averaging 10 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds per game in 12 games this season.

If she continues to have a positive impact for the Terps in the paint and down low, the sky is the limit for Maryland when Reese returns from injury. The depth that Maryland has is highlighted by the way that Collins has carried herself within her expanded role and it’ll be interesting to see if she’s able to dominate the glass once again.

3. Will Maryland’s offense find its groove after an off-game? Maryland’s 79 points against Wisconsin was the team’s second-lowest scoring output so far this season. The lowest scoring mark Maryland had was in its lone loss to Missouri State, in which the Terps scored just 72 points.

Despite an inefficient scoring day against the Badgers, the Terps still average a healthy 92.5 points per game, which leads the nation. Maryland shoots nearly 40% from three-point range as a team this season, but managed just a 28.6% clip against Wisconsin. It’s important that Maryland gets back on track with its scoring abilities and that starts with a strong showing against Ohio State.

“We were able to really focus on ourselves, recover and make sure that our bodies were prepared for the next game,” Diamond Miller said. “Just making sure our bodies are right and recovered because we know we can hit those shots.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Ohio State moving from No. 17 to No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll released Monday afternoon.