Coming off two straight games scoring over 100 points, the Terps seem to pick up right where they left off in their Big Ten opener, beating Illinois 100-65.
Maryland (11-2, 1-0) seemed to have their foot on the gas the whole game, not letting the Fighting Illini (9-6, 0-1) gain a lead the entire game.
This blowout can be attributed to stingy Maryland defense, highlighted by their full court press which gave the Fighting Illini trouble today forcing 21 turnovers.
“[The press is] something that we’ve been able to go to all season.” Coach Brenda Frese said about the Terps defense.“ It gets us going and we’re able to throw a lot of different looks right now.”
Blair Watson led the charge with 5 steals on the day.Watson was also lethal on the offensive end scoring 22 points on the day, with six coming from beyond the arc. Watson joined four other Terps in double figure on the day with two of them, Stephanie Jones and Kalia Charles, recording double-doubles on the day.
“I feel like when we lock in and we bring that energy and effort you see us play our best game.” Charles said about the team’s success today. Charles also had another stellar performance with a team high 24 points. Her team leading scoring has put her on the radar for the all big ten honors this season
The Fighting Illini were also outmatched down low, being out rebounded on the day by 20, a category which the terrapins have been perfecting the past couple of weeks.
“It’s very important, we go in with a mindset of being aggressive and boxing out is part of Maryland basketball.” Forward Brianna Fraser said, who was one rebound away from a double double with 9.
“We try to rebound and run – that’s what we do, so we try to capitalize on that.” Fraser said.
The only downside for Maryland on the day was the play of Eleanna Christinaki. After her outstanding debut she seemed to be a little lost on the court today, shooting a career-low 14.2% from the field on 1 for 7 shooting.
Even with Christaniki’s struggles, the Terps have continued on their steamrolling as of late. They extended their win streak to eight wins against the Fighting Illini since joining the Big Ten in 2014.
“ I thought we did a lot of tremendous things to build upon after our first Big Ten game.” Frese said. The Terps have only lost 3 games in the Big Ten since joining the conference, and they will look not to add a fourth when they take on the Nittany lions of Penn State on New years Eve at 2 P.m .
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