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Maryland women's basketball preview: Terps visit Iowa on national TV

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The Terps return to Coach Frese's home state and face a challenging opponent.

On Thursday night, Maryland women’s basketball reminded fans why the team is considered one of the best in the nation with a 39-point demolition of Nebraska. The Terps hope to keep the momentum going when they visit the Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday afternoon. The game is at 3:00 and will be nationally televised on ESPN2; it can also be streamed on WatchESPN.

The Hawkeyes are a strong team that, while unranked by the AP, currently sits at No. 23 in the Coaches’ Poll. Iowa entered conference play with only two losses on the season, with one coming at Iowa State and the other at the hands of George Washington in double overtime. On Thursday, however, Michigan added a third loss to that column. The team will look to come back home and give the Terps a run.

The game is a homecoming of sorts for Brenda Frese, who grew up in Iowa. On Saturday, her family hosted a team dinner in Cedar Rapids. Once the game tips off, however, it’s all business.

Iowa (12-3, 2-1 B1G)

The coach

Lisa Bluder. One of women’s college basketball’s most accomplished active coaches, Bluder is in her 16th season as coach of the Hawkeyes. The team will be looking to reach its 15th NCAA Tournament in that time as well as its 9th straight. Bluder also coached at St. Ambrose and Drake, and boasts an overall record of 672-319.

Players to know

Ally Disterhoft, junior, guard, 6’0, No. 2. After making Second Team All-Big Ten last season, Disterhoft is now the Hawkeyes’ leading scorer, averaging a career-high 16.9 points per game. She’s a solid shooter (.537/.356/.782) and hardly ever leaves the floor (35.5 minutes per game).

Alexa Kastanek, junior, guard, 5’10, No. 1. In her first year as a starter following the departures of Melissa Dixon and Stephanie Logic in the backcourt, Kastanek has made the most of the opportunity, racking up 12.9 points per game and shooting 41.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Chase Coley, sophomore, forward, 6’3, No. 4. Averages 11.1 points and a team-high 5.7 rebounds. Coley only plays 22 minutes a night, but while on the floor, she’ll be the toughest task for the Terps to guard down low.

Strength

Free-throw shooting. Seven Hawkeyes have taken at least 1.5 foul shots a game—and all of them shoot at least 72 percent. As a club, Iowa knocks down free throws at a 76.8 percent rate, which edges out Ohio State and Michigan State for the best mark in the conference.

Weakness

Three-point shooting. But if you make them move back just a little, the game changes. Kastanek and Disterhoft are solid shooters, but the rest of the team is woefully inefficient. Sophomore point guard Whitney Jennings shoots 28.6 percent on nearly 4 attempts per game; senior forward Kali Peschel sports a 23.8 percentage on nearly 3 such shots.

Thomas’ Prediction: Maryland, 78-65.