Women's basketball Game 23 preview: Maryland at Illinois, 2 p.m. Sunday

Feb. 10—Lineups

Illinois (11-11, 5-7 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Makira Cook Sr. 5-6 14.9 Cincinnati

G Genesis Bryant Sr. 5-6 14.1 Jonesboro, Ga.

G Adalia McKenzie Jr. 5-10 10.5 Brooklyn Park, Minn.

F Kendall Bostic Sr. 6-2 12.4 Kokomo, Ind.

C Camille Hobby Sr. 6-3 9.0 Jacksonville, Fla.

FYI: McKenzie has averaged 17.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals in the last three games for the Illini while shooting a combined 22 of 41 from the floor (53.7 percent) during the last three games against Michigan, Purdue and Northwestern.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Gretchen Dolan Fr. 5-11 4.3 Buffalo, N.Y.

F Brynn Shoup-Hill Jr. 6-3 3.5 Goshen, Ind.

F Shay Bollin So. 6-3 2.2 Raynham, Mass.

Maryland (13-10, 5-7 Big Ten)


P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

G Bri McDaniel So. 5-10 13.3 Chicago

G Jakia Brown-Turner Gr. 6-0 13.1 Oxon Hill, Md.

G Shyanne Sellers Jr. 6-2 15.4 Aurora, Ohio

G/F Brinae Alexander Gr. 6-0 9.0 Murfreesboro, Tenn.

G/F Faith Masonius Gr. 6-1 6.3 Belmar, N.J.

FYI: Brown-Turner had a streak of five straight 20-plus point games end with an 11-point effort on Tuesday night while playing 33 minutes in the Terrapins' 67-59 win at Rutgers. But the Maryland native is still her team's top scorer in Big Ten play with Brown-Turner putting up 15.5 points per game in 12 league games with a shooting slash of .514/.444/.774.

Off the bench

P Name Yr. Ht. PPG Hometown

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

F Allie Kubek R-Jr. 6-2 8.2 Elkton, Md.

G/F Emily Fisher Fr. 6-0 2.9 Libertyville


➜ Site: State Farm Center (15,544); Champaign.

➜ TV: Fox Sports 1.

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

➜ Series: Maryland leads 15-0.

➜ Last meeting: Maryland defeated Illinois 90-82 on Jan. 20 in College Park, Md.

➜ FYI: All five Illini starters reached double figures in last month's loss to the Terps at the XFINITY Center with Genesis Bryant (19 points) and Camille Hobby (18 points) leading the way. That still wasn't enough, though, as Maryland shot 53.0 percent as a team with Bri McDaniel and Jakia Brown-Turner combining for 42 points to propel the Terps.

Beat writer Joe Vozzelli's storylines

Taking advantage of 'free points'

Makira Cook has been spending more time studying film with Shauna Green this season. It's that kind of one-on-one time between the Illinois point guard and Illini second-year coach that has yielded some important ways for Cook to improve her game as a senior. Like initiating her own offense by getting teammates involved first. The latest realization was that Cook had to get to the free throw line more. Now in her third season as a full-time starter, Cook was attempting 2.7 free throws a game — the lowest rate of her college career — before Thursday night's 82-71 home win against Northwestern. The Cincinnati native reached the line a season-high 11 times versus the Wildcats. It's that approach Green wants to see more from Illinois, which is 11th in the Big Ten in free-throw attempts (366) despite shooting 77.9 percent at the line. That mark is tied with Purdue for second in the league. "It's just free points," Green said. "You have to work really hard to get to the free-throw line, but once you're there, you can take a deep breath, gather yourself and take a breather. It also takes them out of their rhythm when you keep going to the free-throw line."

Dolan, Bollin spark Illini off bench

The 17 points Illinois received from its bench on Thursday night against Northwestern ended a stretch of five games where the Illini didn't have its reserves score more than seven points in any one game. Consistent bench production has been a recurring problem in Green's two seasons at Illinois. But Gretchen Dolan, and in particular, Shay Bollin gave the Illini a boost. "It's awesome," Cook said of Bollin and Dolan, "because behind the scenes, we see how hard everybody works each day. The people who had a really good game (Thursday night) off the bench, it's a direct correlation from how they worked this week and how focused and vocal they were. It's just nice to see everything come together, and we celebrate them."

A chance to move up the Big Ten standings

Illinois would currently be the No. 9 seed at the Big Ten tournament, which opens March 6 in Minneapolis. That would mean a bye into the second round, as the top 10 teams in the standings all avoid playing on the first day and the top four teams receive a double bye into the quarterfinals. That makes the next three-plus weeks significant for the Illini, who are only two games back of a three-way tie for fourth place among Michigan State, Penn State and Nebraska. Illinois has a chance to improve its seeding with the Nittany Lions (Feb. 15), Spartans (Feb. 29) and Cornhuskers (March 3) on the schedule in the coming weeks. But Maryland has Green's immediate focus as the Illini are tied with the Terps in the standings. Maryland owns the tiebreaker with its head-to-head win against Illinois last month. "It's a gauntlet," Green said of the Illini's remaining regular-season schedule, which also includes No. 2 Iowa and No. 14 Indiana. "It's all the top teams. ... This is a big game (on Sunday against Maryland). Every game, I truly believe this team can beat anybody we play, or you could lose to any team you play. It's just how consistent our execution levels (are)."

The News-Gazette's Pick

Illinois 90, Maryland 86

The Terrapins have been vulnerable away from College Park, Md., a fact the Illini must take advantage of with Maryland 2-6 on the road this season. The first game showed what has been clear for a while in the Big Ten: It takes scoring in the 80s and 90s to win these kind of games. Genesis Bryant might hold the key to doing just that for Illinois after three straight uncharacteristic games from the senior guard. (N-G prediction record: 14-8).