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Maryland women's basketball preview: Terps head north to play Wisconsin

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The Terrapins venture to Madison looking for their fifth win in a row.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland women's basketball is back in the top 5 of the AP Poll ahead of Wednesday night's visit to Wisconsin. The Terps leapfrogged three teams in the poll, including conference foe Ohio State, after taking down Michigan on the road and Northwestern at home. With the Buckeyes losing Thursday and beating Purdue Sunday, there is now a three-way tie atop the Big Ten.

Next up, the Terps will travel to Madison to play the Wisconsin Badgers. The game starts at 8 p.m. and can be seen on BTN Plus. Maryland is looking for its fifth straight win, and the Badgers are not expected to be too difficult of an obstacle in this pursuit. However, a good game or even an upset is not completely out of the question, so the Terps will need to bring it.

Wisconsin Badgers (6-10, 2-4 B1G)

The coach

Bobbie Kelsey, in her fifth year. She holds a 48-88 record at Wisconsin, and was a longtime assistant coach before arriving in Madison. From 2007-11, she was on the staff at Stanford, her alma mater.

Players to know

Nicole Bauman, senior, guard, 5’10, No. 4. She's the Badgers’ top scorer at 15.3 points per game. Bauman is a shooter; over half of her field goal attempts are three-pointers, and this year she’s sinking 37.7 percent of them (down from a school-record 48.8 percent in 2014-15).

Dakota Whyte, senior, guard, 5’8, No. 1. Has scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games this season, highlighted by a 23-point performance against Penn State on Jan. 10. She leads the team with 3.9 assists per game.

Michala Johnson, redshirt senior, center, 6'3, No. 25. The rare sixth-year senior. Johnson played two seasons at UConn, but was buried deep on the bench and transferred to Wisconsin. In 2013-14, she was named First Team All-Big Ten after leading the Badgers with 16.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. She tore her ACL just six games into last season, but was granted a sixth year of eligibility. The graduate student is still Wisconsin’s top post player, but her averages have dipped to 10.4 and 6.4.

Strength

Three-point shooting. Bauman is a good enough shooter to carry a team, but the Badgers have a few other threats from deep. White, sophomore guard Cayla McMorris and freshman guard Roichelle Marble have all made at least one per game since conference play began. Wisconsin doesn’t jack up threes with the frequency of some squads, but the team’s 36.8 percent mark is 21st in the country.

Weakness

Rebounding. The Badgers’ rebounding margin of -3.2, conversely, is 254th nationally. In Big Ten play, it’s -5.9. It doesn’t help Wisconsin’s cause that the Terps have the nation’s highest rebounding margin (+18.2).

Prediction

Maryland, 75-54.