No. 7 Maryland overpowers Wisconsin for 85-56 win

NCAA Basketball
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MADISON, Wis. (AP)Maryland coach Brenda Frese said she likes how the Terrapins are playing with post-season play on the horizon.

The No. 7 Terps have a wealth of weapons on offense, and also get the job done on defense.

Kaila Charles scored 16 points while Shakira Austin and Diamond Miller each added 12 to help Maryland rout Wisconsin 85-56 on Wednesday night.

”On any given night, you can see we’re able to expose wherever we can against the defense,” said Frese, who has coached at Maryland for 18 seasons. ”We have so many weapons both inside and outside, that’s where you want to be as you’re building towards March.”

Maryland (22-5, 14-2 Big Ten) holds a half-game lead in the conference standings ahead of Northwestern with two games to go in the regular season.

The Terps have strung together 12 consecutive wins and haven’t lost since a 66-61 setback at Iowa on Jan. 9. They won the two-game regular-season series over Wisconsin, and hold an 8-0 series record.

Junior Niya Beverly and freshman reserve Julie Pospisilova scored 10 points apiece for the Badgers (11-16, 3-13).

Coach Jonathan Tsipsis, in his fourth season at Wisconsin, said the Badgers struggled mightily with handling Maryland’s press.

Tsipsis has watched Frese lead different teams and programs for a couple decades, and said this season’s Maryland team is one of the best.

”This group’s attention to their defensive pressure is as good as any team that I’ve seen that she’s had,” Tsipsis said. ”She has kids who can really move their feet and obviously, they’re able to switch a lot of screens; substitute people in at different spots.”

The Terps have strung together 12 consecutive wins and haven’t lost since a 66-61 setback at Iowa on Jan. 9. They won the two-game regular-season series over Wisconsin, and hold an 8-0 series record.

Stephanie Jones added 11 points and nine rebounds for Maryland.

Maryland scored 33 points off Wisconsin turnovers. The Badgers had 23 of their 25 turnovers in the first half.

The Terrapins held the Badgers to 17 first-half points, which was Wisconsin’s lowest total in a half this season. Wisconsin has lost six straight games.

Taylor Mikesell delivered 12 points to round out double-digit scorers for the Terps.

Maryland entered the game with a 12.6 steals-per-game average, which was ranked ninth-best in the nation. The Terps had 14 steals on Wednesday.

Frese said she’s been pleased with the continued contributions of Austin, a 6-foot-5 forward, who’s had an impact underneath the basket.

”When she goes and secures a lot of those double teams in the first half, it really opens up to our shooters,” she said.

Frese wasn’t pleased that the Terps allowed the Badgers to drain seven 3-pointers in the second half, but Maryland’s ability to rely on its bench should boost post-season aspirations.

”In the Big Ten tournament, you’re going to play three games in three days, so developing that depth is important,” she said

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins can score inside and out, with easy layups from Charles, the Big Ten Conference’s preseason player of the year, and 3-point baskets from sophomore standout Taylor Mikesell.

Wisconsin: The Badgers get energy boosts from freshman Sydney Hilliard and sophomore Imani Lewis, but their inability to come up with offensive rebounds and second-chance points has kept them near the Big Ten cellar this season.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Purdue on Feb. 25 and plays at Minnesota on March 1 to wrap up the Big Ten Conference regular-season schedule.

Wisconsin hosts Northwestern on Saturday, and plays its final home game of the season at Rutgers on Feb. 27.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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