No. 3 Maryland routs Illinois 94-49
(AP Photo/Heather Coit)
By MICHAL DWOJAK
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) No. 3 Maryland showed why it can compete for a national championship this season, playing a nearly flawless game in a 94-49 rout of Illinois on Thursday night.
The game was close for a few minutes in the first quarter, but once Maryland got started, it never looked back.
The Terrapins have led many routs this season, making it important to keep up the energy during the game when it might seem slow.
"We have to bring our own energy," Brionna Jones said. "It helped with our bench providing so much energy."
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 14 points for Maryland (20-1, 8-0 Big Ten) who had little trouble on either side of the ball, shooting 43 percent from the field and 7-22 from 3-point range.
The Terrapins got off to a quick start in the first quarter when Illinois went on a 5:28 scoring drought and Maryland a 14-0 run, never giving up the lead.
Much of the success came down in the post, where Maryland out-rebounded Illinois 61-34, won the second-chance points battle 25-9 and scored more points in the paint, 44-22.
Maryland received a full team performance, with no player who played in the game scoring fewer than five points. Thursday's performance is one that encourages head coach Brenda Frese about her team's postseason future.
"It's a championship mentality," Frese said. "When everyone is playing with that type of energy, it continues to show what type of team this is."
Alex Wittinger led the way for Illinois (8-13, 3-5 Big Ten) with 21 points.
The Illini had very little consistency offensively, shooting 29 percent from the field and 1-17 from beyond the arc. Illinois went through numerous scoring droughts throughout the game, allowing Maryland to go on runs and expand its lead.
"They were a lot better than us, and that showed in every category," Illinois coach Matt Bollant said.
Maryland: The Terrapins took care of business on the road. Maryland will play the Big Ten's mediocre teams in Purdue, Indiana and Iowa.
Illinois: The Illini looked strong winning their first three home Big Ten games, but they were no match for the Terrapins. Illinois will have a true road test when it travels to Penn State for four of its last games of the season.
Maryland should remain at the No. 3 spot after a win it was expected to gain. Both Connecticut and Baylor will hold on to the top two spots, respectively.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Maybe Illinois didn't even have a bench. Maryland's bench out-scored Illinois' 47-2.
Kiah Gillespie played a major role coming off the bench, scoring nine points and bringing in five rebounds.
Maryland returns home where it will host Iowa on Sunday afternoon.
Illinois travels to University Park for a Sunday afternoon tilt against Penn State.
More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org
Updated January 26, 2017