No. 10 Maryland (19-2 8-2 B1G) will now travel to Illinois (9-12 1-9 B1G) to take on the Illini in the team’s first meeting of the season. The Terps are coming off a 75-57 win over Wisconsin where junior guard Kaila Charles led the way with 22 points, one of her best performances of the season.
Entering this game, Illinois has lost seven consecutive games, all against conference opponents. Five of the seven losses have come by double figures, a trend Maryland will look to continue on Monday.
Despite a tough start to conference play, Illinois is third in the conference in threes made per game, averaging 6.2 per game. Freshman guard Aerial Scott is the Illini’ best perimeter threat, setting up a matchup between Scott and freshman guard Taylor Mikesell in the backcourt. Mikesell is also one of the best perimeter shooters in the conference. In addition to Scott, junior guard Brandi Beasley is one of the best facilitators in the conference along with Maryland’s sophomore guard Channise Lewis, setting up another important matchup in the backcourt. The Terps defense will need to make sure to communicate defensively, limiting open perimeter opportunities.
The difference for Maryland will be on the offensive glass with the trio of freshman Shakira Austin, junior Stephanie Jones and senior Brianna Fraser. All three are key contributors on the glass for Maryland, creating second opportunities on offense. Maryland ranks toward the top of the conference in average offensive rebounds per game, while Illinois ranks towards the bottom. Austin is coming off another double-double and will look to establish an advantage inside once again by using her height and length.
Maryland does not only have the advantage on the offensive glass, but on the defensive end as well with the highest rebounding margin of (+10.2) in the conference, while Illinois has one of the lowest at (-0.4). Continuing their strong rebounding will be important for Maryland, both creating second opportunities on offense and limiting them on defense.
Maryland and Illinois are scheduled to tip-off at 7:30 p.m at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
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