Fresh off a buzzer-beater victory over Nebraska, the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team (11-10, 2-7 Big Ten) will travel to College Park to take on the No. 11 Maryland Terrapins (18-2, 7-2 Big Ten) Thursday night in an attempt to build on to their Big Ten record.
Such a dynamic victory over Nebraska could provide much-needed momentum for the Badgers as they move forward and try to upset Maryland and shatter the women’s basketball world.
The Badgers were able to snatch the victory from the Cornhuskers due to a balanced scoring attack on offense. This is something they will need to continue not only against Maryland, but the rest of the season as Head Coach Jonathan Tsipis has missed consistent play from Wisconsin in their struggles of 2019.
Badger offense will be a crucial part of the game as the Terrapins defense only allows 58.2 points per game on average, which puts them third in the Big Ten ranking for points allowed.
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While Imani Lewis and Marsha Howard continue to carry the scoring load, Abby Laszewski has averaged seven points in the third quarter alone the previous two contests. These third-quarter surges led by Laszewski have inspired Badger runs
In coming games, Tsipis and Badger fans will look to Laszewski, as the Badgers won’t be able to slay any Big Ten team — let alone a No. 11 Maryland team — if they don’t capitalize on small runs opportunities any chance they can.
Another Badger looking to stay hot is guard Niya Beverley. Early in the month, Tsipis removed Beverley from the starting lineup before quickly reinserting her after a season-high 15 points against Indiana. Beverley is at her best distributing the ball while looking for her openings to attack the basket —something she will look to do as the Badgers attempt to break down the Maryland defense.
With three Maryland players — Kaila Charles, Stephanie Jones and Taylor Mikesell — averaging more than Wisconsin’s leading scorer, Howard, Maryland’s offensive firepower is striking. While Jones and Charles have two years of Big Ten experience, Mikesell has immediately inserted her three-point prowess into the Terrapins offense nailing 61 triples at 42 percent.
But the Badgers’ biggest challenge could be the athleticism of 6-foot-5 freshman Shakira Austin. While her offensive game needs refining, Austin has posted ridiculous stat lines including a 13-point, 15-rebound and seven-block game against Michigan. An undersized Badger team could fall prey to such a ferocious interior enforcer on both offense and defense.
Wisconsin will need to be near perfect, capitalizing on rare Terrapin mistakes if they want to dethrone a powerhouse like Maryland. A loaded Terrapin roster has outscored their opponents by an average of 18.2 points per game.
Not only will Wisconsin need a near perfect performance on defense, but they will also be in search of an offensive spark coming off the momentous buzzer-beater win over Nebraska in order to take down a No. 11 ranked Maryland.
The game will take place live from College Park on BTN plus at 6 p.m. Thursday. Also listen live on Badger Radio Network, 100.9.