Women's basketball Game 17 preview: Illinois at Maryland, noon Saturday

Jan. 20—Lineups

Illinois (8-8, 2-4 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Makira Cook Sr. 5-6 13.8 Cincinnati

G Genesis Bryant Sr. 5-6 14.6 Jonesboro, Ga.

G Adalia McKenzie Jr. 5-10 9.9 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

F Kendall Bostic Sr. 6-2 12.3 Kokomo, Ind.

C Camille Hobby Sr. 6-3 8.0 Jacksonville, Fla.

FYI: That the Illini won 96-68 against Rutgers on Wednesday night at State Farm Center helped Illinois achieve a feat that hadn't been done by the program this century. The Illini, who also routed Northwestern 93-52 last Sunday, scored at least 90 points in back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

F Brynn Shoup-Hill Jr. 6-3 4.8 Goshen, Ind.

G Gretchen Dolan Fr. 5-11 3.4 Buffalo, N.Y.

F Shay Bollin So. 6-3 2.1 Raynham, Mass.

Maryland (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Bri McDaniel So. 5-10 12.6 Chicago

G Jakia Brown-Turner Gr. 6-0 10.6 Oxon Hill, Md.

G Shyanne Sellers Jr. 6-2 16.4 Aurora, Ohio

G/F Brinae Alexander Gr. 6-0 9.3 Murfreesboro, Tenn.

F Allie Kubek R-Jr. 6-2 8.6 Elkton, Md.

FYI: While Sellers leads the Terrapins in most major season-long statistical categories, McDaniel has arguably been the best player for coach Brenda Frese and Co. since the start of Big Ten play. The Kenwood Academy product isaveraging 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists with shooting marks of .455/.385/.840 through six league games.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Lavender Briggs Gr. 6-1 8.9 Provo, Utah

G/F Faith Masonius Gr. 6-1 6.8 Belmar, N.J.

G/F Emily Fisher Fr. 6-0 2.5 Libertyville


Site: XFINITY Center (17,950); College Park, Md.

Radio: Mike Koon will have the call on WDWS 1400-AM & 93.9-FM.

Streaming: BTN Plus (subscription).

Series: Maryland leads 14-0.

Last meeting: Maryland won 73-58 against Illinois on March 3, 2023, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Minneapolis.

FYI: It's no secret the Terrapins have had the Illini's number with Brenda Frese as coach. The first of two losses Illinois sustained last season to Maryland saw Shauna Green's team take a nine-point lead into halftime on Super Bowl Sunday in College Park, Md., only to have the Terrapins outscore the Illini 31-8 in the third quarter. The end result was an 82-71 regular-season Illinois loss at Maryland on Feb. 12, 2023, that was plagued by 25 turnovers. Diamond Miller, now in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx, led all scorers with 31 points for the Terps, while Makira Cook had a team-high 29 points for the Illini but also committed nine turnovers.

Beat writer Joe Vozzelli's storylines

Could Dolan have an expanded role?

Shauna Green played mostly a seven-player rotation in Wednesday night's home Big Ten win against Rutgers. Until the game was in hand at the end. The Illinois coach has really only gone seven or eight deep this season. But the Illini's matchup with the Scarlet Knights also saw major minutes for Gretchen Dolan off the bench. That could be the role for the freshman guard moving forward after Jada Peebles' season-ending Achilles injury at Northwestern last Sunday. In the first game without Peebles available, Dolan played a career-high 22 minutes. And made the most of them, too, with 11 points, tied for her career-high.

"Being a freshman, it definitely is a process every day," said Dolan, who has averaged 10.9 minutes in 13 games played with the Illini, "but I think the people around me have made it so much easier every day to get through it and keep growing. I really just give it to them because they've been so helpful in my growth process."

Emotional locker room after Rutgers win

Green described the feeling of "mixed emotions" on Wednesday night. Illinois was coming off its most complete performance of the season after plenty of early season struggles. But that wasn't the only thing on Green's mind afterward.

"We're celebrating, and everyone's up, and then I look at Jada in the locker room, she's there, and she's crying," the Illinois coach said. Peebles finishes her five-year Illini career with the sixth-most games played in school history at 124.

"It hurts," Green continued. "You just feel for her, especially as a fifth-year. It sucks for anyone, but for it to happen in her fifth year, this is it. But the thing about it is who Jada is as a person and where she's at right now. She's going to be able to get through this, and she has all of us here. She has her family, and then she has our family here. We're going to be there for her, and she's going to be a major part of our team going forward."

Downplaying her success

The wins against Northwestern and Rutgers featured Camille Hobby reaching double figure scoring in back-to-back games for only the second time this season. The fifth-year North Carolina State transfer center has looked to be settling into a comfort zone. Especially with Green opting to start Hobby at the five and Kendall Bostic at the four position in consecutive games, with Hobby putting up 12 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes against Rutgers. Still, the 6-foot-3 Jacksonville, Fla., native wasn't too worried about her numbers afterward.

"I think the biggest thing is focusing on the team and all of us working together to get a win," Hobby said. "That's the biggest thing we have to do right now."

The News-Gazette's Pick

Illinois 80, Maryland 77

This might be the Illini's best chance to finally knock off the Terrapins heading into Saturday's game outside the nation's capital. Neither team has lived up to preseason hype with both starting out in the AP Top 25 only to crash out within the first month. A win here would signify Illinois has actually turned things around and not just beaten up on two of the worst teams in the Big Ten in Northwestern and Rutgers (N-G prediction record: 11-5)