After a week off, No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball (12-4, 4-1 B1G) returns to the Xfinity Center for a top-15 matchup on Sunday against No. 11 Michigan (14-2, 5-1 B1G) in a nationally televised game on ESPN at 5 p.m.
Both teams enter the match on a two-game winning streak. And this game has implications for the second spot in the Big Ten rankings. A win would push the Terps into second place, past Michigan, in the Big Ten standings.
“As a team we’re just continuing stacking practices together and [building] our chemistry together,” head coach Brenda Frese said.
During the Terps’ streak, guard Ashley Owusu has been rolling, averaging 17.5 points, five rebounds and 13 assists earning her Big Ten Player of the Week Honor Roll. Owusu, and the rest of the team, has thrived with guard Diamond Miller’s return to the starting lineup two games ago from a lingering knee injury.
In spite of the injury turmoil Maryland has endured throughout its young season, the Terps boast the number two scoring offense in the Big Ten averaging 83.3 points a game, priming them for a gritty Michigan team, which is the number three defense in the Big Ten only allowing an average of 59.6 points a game.
The Wolverines are finishing their east coast road trip after beating Penn State 74-57 on Thursday, a game in which star forward Naz Hillmon led the team with 21 points.
Hillmon is the Wolverines leading scorer and fourth-highest scorer in the Big Ten averaging 20.1 points per game. Hillmon is not the only star on the Wolverines though, guard Leigha Brown is averaging 15.5 points a game and has scored in double figures in eight straight games.
“It’s going to take a collective team effort defensively with all the different weapons they have,” Frese said.
Michigan is the Terps sixth game against a ranked opponent and the team has gone 1-4 in those games. Michigan has fared better against ranked opponents, going 2-1 and picking up a big win against Baylor last month.
The Terps’ bye week has allowed the players to recuperate before a tight and competitive matchup against the Wolverines on Sunday.
“Having a bye week has been great,” forward/guard Chloe Bibby said. “We’ve been able to give our bodies a little bit of rest and watch a bit of film, so it’s been good.”