Terps Head Into Tournament as No. 1 Seed
The Maryland women's basketball team defeated Illinois, 71–62, on Saturday for its fourth Big Ten Conference regular-season title in five years, and it will enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
The Maryland women's basketball team won its fourth Big Ten Conference regular-season title in five years Saturday with a 71–62 win over Illinois at the Xfinity Center.
With their win on Senior Day, No. 8-ranked Maryland (26–3, 15–3 B1G) enters the Big Ten Tournament next weekend in Indianapolis as the No. 1 seed. The team will meet the winner of Thursday's Northwestern vs. Michigan State matchup on Friday.
Freshman Taylor Mikesell led the Terps in scoring with 20 points, while junior Stephanie Jones had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Freshman Shakira Austin scored 13 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, and junior Blair Watson added 12 for the Terrapins, who have won 11 of their last 12.
Alex Wittinger had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Illinois (10–19, 2–16).
Seeking to go 10–0 against Illinois, the Terrapins never trailed after the game’s opening 3 1/2 minutes. Maryland led 22–14 after the first quarter and boosted the margin to 10 before Courtney Joens scored eight points in a seven-minute span to make it 37–33 at halftime.
Using three field goals by Wittinger, Illinois pulled even at 39 early in the second half. Mikesell followed with a three-pointer to launch a 12–3 spree that concluded with Watson drilling a shot from deep in the left corner and Austin converting a three-point play.
Minutes later, Watson hit a three-pointer to give Maryland a 54–44 lead entering the fourth quarter.
After the Fighting Illini closed to 58–52, Watson hit a three, and Austin popped a jumper in the lane to secure the win.
Mikesell has made 86 three-pointers this year. She needs to make just six to top the program season record of 91 by Kristi Toliver in 2008–09. Austin has 77 blocks this season and needs four more to top the program season record of 80 by Kris Kirchner in 1978–79.
In her 17 years at Maryland, head coach Brenda Frese has led the Terps to a record of 455–122 (.789). She owns a record of 512–152 (.771) over her 20-year coaching career. Frese has led Maryland to 14 NCAA Tournaments in her 16 post seasons, three Final Fours, six Elite Eights, eight Sweet Sixteens and 10 conference titles.
As a program, Maryland has a record of 998–425 (.701). Only 10 Division I women’s basketball programs have reached 1,000 wins.
The Terps' matchup against either Northwestern or Michigan State will be televised around the world on the Big Ten Network. For more on the Big Ten Tournament, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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