After almost a week off, No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball (20-7, B1G 12-4) is looking to regain momentum for the Big Ten Tournament in its regular season finale against No. 10 Indiana (19-6, B1G 11-4) on Friday night.
“I know our kids are really excited and just ready for the battle,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “Looking forward to having a great crowd.”
Last time out, Maryland saw their eight game winning streak snapped as then No. 9 Michigan won, 71-59, to move to the top of the Big Ten standings. Guard Ashley Owusu also returned to action in the loss after missing the last four games with a sprained ankle.
Maryland is currently in a three way tie for second place in the conference standings with No. 17 Ohio State and No. 21 Iowa. Meanwhile, Indiana has lost two straight to Iowa to fall to third place in the Big Ten standings.
Both Maryland and Indiana need a lot to go right in the Big Ten regular season title, but the game still has big implications as both teams vie for a top four seed in the Big Ten tournament that starts next week.
The last time these two sides met, Indiana won narrowly, 70-63, in overtime. Hoosiers forward Mackenzie Holmes and guard Grace Berger scored big buckets in the extra period to propel Indiana to victory.
Forward Angel Reese and guard Diamond Miller had big games in the loss, too, scoring 22 and 17 points, respectively.
“We are not the same team the first time we played them … compared to who we are now,” Frese said.
The team has gone through a lot since that game. In the Indiana loss the Terps lost forward Faith Masonius to an ACL injury and the adversity continued to pile up from there.
Frese’s father passed away just days after Maryland fell to the top ten Hoosiers and, weeks later, Owusu’s ankle injury further thinned out the roster. The team suffered some tough losses along the way, but also strung together eight straight wins in spite of the challenging road bumps.
“Our defense has come a long way and that is what we are priding ourselves on now,” forward Chloe Bibby said. “They have some great scorers and facilitators on their team, so just stopping their players and playing as hard as we can.”
Holmes and Berger lead Indiana in scoring as they both average 16.4 points per game. Like Maryland, all of Indiana’s usual starters are averaging over 10 points a game.
Fans are encouraged to wear red for the ‘Red Out’ themed night and tipoff is at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.