Feb. 11—What happened
The name of the game is making shots. And Illinois missed far too many to break its curse against Maryland on Sunday afternoon at State Farm Center. Makira Cook struggled throughout (1 of 10 from floor) and the Illini finished 31.8 percent as a team. The Terrapins weren't great, either, evidenced by 19 turnovers, but Maryland dominated on the glass (47-33 rebounding edge) and Terps guard Shyanne Sellers made the difference in a road win, an important one for Brenda Frese and Co. given their place on the NCAA tournament bubble.
What IT MEANS
Maryland continues to have Illinois' number. The Illini, after all, are now 0-16 all-time against the Terps. Sunday's matchup was a key opportunity with the Illini looking to move above Maryland in the Big Ten standings with an eye on the Big Ten tournament next month in Minneapolis. The loss means Illinois has been at or below the .500 mark for nearly two months now as the last time the Illini had a winning record was after an 81-71 victory against UTEP on Dec. 21 in West Palm Beach, Fla., when Illinois was 6-5.
It doesn't get any easier for Illinois (11-12, 5-8 Big Ten) after the 16-point loss to Maryland (14-10, 6-7). The final five regular-season games are against teams in the top 35 in the NET rankings. The Illini — who next play Penn State (16-8, 7-6) at 5 p.m. on Thursday in State College, Pa. — are a half game ahead of tenth-place Minnesota in the league standings. The Nittany Lions, meanwhile, will be coming off three straight losses, including a damaging 69-64 loss at Wisconsin on Sunday, when the face Illinois.
What WAS SAID
"Obviously, we couldn't really get in any rhythm offensively. I was really happy with our defense in the first half. ... I thought Maryland, we had an opportunity to get them (Sunday) and just couldn't get over that hump. ... We got outrebounded, and I just thought there were plays in the fourth (quarter) ... we have to be better. We have to fight harder. We have to be more disciplined in those moments and just with better fight and competitiveness in order to win these games."
Illinois coach Shauna Green