No. 9 Maryland women’s basketball looks to build on winning streak against struggling Illinois

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Since a late January loss to Ohio State, Maryland (14-1, 10-1 B1G) has won three straight while averaging 90 points per game. The Terps will look to build on the winning streak in a Wednesday matinee as they take on Illinois (3-13, 1-12) in College Park at 1 pm. 

After an emotional and celebratory win at Nebraska on Sunday, the Terps will have to regain focus in a quick turnaround for another Big Ten showdown. In Lincoln, head coach Brenda Frese became Maryland basketball’s all-time winningest coach picking up her 500th win leading the team.

Wednesdays matchup will showcase the top of the Big Ten against the bottom. Maryland sits in first place in the Big Ten, while the Fighting Illini are dead last. Illinois’ only Big Ten win this season came on Feb. 7 against Purdue. 

In its last showing, Maryland took care of business to bring home Frese’s 500th win leading the program. The Terps outlasted the Cornhuskers, 95-73, and set a record in Pinnacle Bank Arena for most points scored by an opponent. 

Sophomore sensation Ashley Owusu scored 25 points to go along with seven assists and seven boards. Fellow sophomore Diamond Miller scored 24 points, while Mimi Collins and Chloe Bibby chipped in 19 and 16, respectively. 

“I thought it was one of our most complete games that we came out with from start to finish,” Frese said. 

Last week, Owusu was named to the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Midseason team. Owusu leads the team with 18.9 points per game and is third in the Big Ten in assists.

Frese’s high-powered offense continues to lead the country in scoring averaging 91.7 points per game. With five scheduled games to go, the Terps are on track to break the school’s previous scoring record of 89.6 points per game, held by the 1977-78 team. All five starters are averaging double-digit points. 

Maryland has never lost to Illinois, 11-0 all time and 8-0 since joining the Big Ten in 2014. While Illinois has struggled all season, Frese knows her team has to come out, play their game and continue to improve as the March tournaments inch closer. 

“This is a team that is still searching for their identity, a young team,” Frese said about the upcoming opponent. “But, nonetheless, for us it’s always playing to our Maryland standard for 40 minutes in this game.”