Wisconsin looks for first conference victory, major upset against Maryland

Kendra Van Leeuwen contributed across the board as UW earned its first conference win of the season.

Image By: Leah Voskuil

The Wisconsin women’s basketball team (0-3 Big Ten, 7-9 overall) will welcome the No. 13 Maryland Terrapins (3-0, 14-2) into the Kohl Center Sunday at 2 p.m., hoping to stop a four game losing skid.

It’s a tale of two different starts to conference play as Maryland has started out with two dominant performances and a nail bitting win against Penn State, while the Badgers have had a less than ideal start to conference play struggling in their first three contests to have offensive consistency.

The Terrapins have the second best scoring offense in the Big Ten scoring 88 points per game and also lead the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage at 39.1 percent. Maryland is also first in offensive rebounds and second in rebounding margin in the Big Ten, while also second in both assists and steals.

So far this season sophomore guards Kaila Charles and Blair Watson have led the Terrapins’ high scoring, efficient offense and been front and center defensively in Maryland’s high pressure defense.

In last year’s matchup, Charles scored 15 points, while Blair Watson contributed 10 points as UM routed the Badgers in College Park last season, 89-40.

UW will look to contain both Charles and Watson, while also taking into account the five other Maryland players that are in double figures for scoring on the year.

Freshmen guard Niya Beverley and sophomore guard Kendra Van Leeuwen will be tasked with keeping Charles and Watson in check. Beverley and Van Leeuwen did an excellent job in the first half of Thursday’s game in shutting Michigan’s top scoring guard Kaitlyn Flaherty and look for them to be tasked with doing the same thing Sunday afternoon.

The Badgers will turn to sophomore forward Courtney Fredrickson who has scored in double figures for five straight games for offense. They will also look for senior winger Cayla McMorris to get back into her groove, after appearing in her first game in over three weeks last week, and provide a much needed scoring boost and defensive presence.

The one thing that Wisconsin can utilize heading into this crucial conference game has been its experience with teams that full court press and are nuisances in the passing lanes. It has dealt with several teams throughout the course of its non-conference schedule that have used implemented that defensive scheme against them.

The prominent issue that has plagued the Badgers so far through early conference play has been offensive droughts, as noted by head coach Jonathan Tsipis prior to the Michigan game on Thursday.

If the Badgers hope to pull off the major upset against the Terrapins, they will need to emphasize ball security, limit the Terp’s quality three-point attempts and try to diversify their defensive sets throughout the game to keep Maryland guessing.

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