No. 4 Maryland women’s basketball (21-7, B1G 13-4) begins its Big Ten Tournament run in Indianapolis against fifth seed Indiana (21-7, B1G 11-5) on Friday at 2 p.m.
“This is the best time of year,” head coach Brenda Frese said. “The end of the schedule we had, we really feel like it prepared us for Indy.”
The Terps enter the tournament quarterfinals winning nine of their past 10 games. Three of their last four outings were wins over ranked opponents.
The Terps are the two time defending tournament champions and are 19-2 all time in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Hoosiers and Terps split their regular season series, with both sides claiming a win at home. The Friday afternoon bout marks the second time these two teams have met in seven days, as they closed out the regular season against each other in College Park last Friday with Maryland winning, 67-64.
Guard Katie Benzan hit the game winning floater with 11 seconds left while forward Angel Reese dominated scoring 20 points and collecting 16 rebounds.
“[On Indiana], we know each other’s tendencies really well,” Benzan. “I think the tougher team will really win out so we have to make sure that we grind and battle for 40 minutes.”
After playing Indiana last week with only six players, Maryland returns much of the depth it lacked last time out against Indiana. The break has allowed Owusu to recover her ankle and Taisiya Kozlova to return to team activity.
“It’s perfect timing for the two of them to be rounding into some type of form for us,” Frese said.
Indiana advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday with a, 66-54, win against No. 13 Rutgers in the second round. Hoosiers guards Ali Patberg and Grace Berger scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, to lead the team and they had six assists each.
The winner will face the winner of No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 8 Michigan State in the semifinals on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with a trip to the Big Ten Tournament title game on the line.