Austin scores 17 as No. 10 Maryland beats Illinois 80-66
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Freshman Shakira Austin played like a veteran to help Maryland beat Illinois.
Austin scored 17 points and fellow freshman Taylor Mikesell added 14 for the 10th-ranked Terrapins, who moved into a tie with Rutgers for the top spot in the conference. The two teams will play on Sunday at Rutgers.
The 6-foot-5 Austin also grabbed seven rebounds for Maryland (20-2, 9-2 Big Ten).
“They didn’t really have the height and we took advantage of that,” Austin said.
“You really have to look at our size and talent,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. “It’s quite a luxury to have.”
Brandi Beasley scored 17 points for Illinois (9-13, 1-10). Sarah Shewan and Alex Wittinger added 16 and 15 points respectively for the Illini.
Illinois stayed in the game until the final period. Maryland went cold in the third quarter, shooting 5 of 18 from the field.
Illinois came on hard at the end of the half, with Shewan hitting two 3s and Beasley adding another in a span of less than a minute.
Shewan was 5 of 7 from beyond the three-point stripe.
“I didn’t really hesitate out there,” Shewan said. “And I felt pretty good.”
Illinois coach Nancy Fahey was happy with her team’s effort.
“We’re looking for effort out there,” she said. “And I think we saw that tonight. We got beat, but we’re not losers.”
Maryland led 48-37 at the half.
“I thought we came out aggressive and really pushed them,” coach Frese said. “But Illinois battled back in the second and third periods. You have to give them and our conference credit. Anyone can beat anyone on any given night.”
The Terps shot 28 of 63 from the field (44 percent), while Illinois was 25 of 63 (40 percent). Maryland held the edge in rebounds, 44-33.
The Terps came back into the top 10 on Monday and have two more games this week.
“It’s great having two freshmen lead us tonight,” Frese said. “But it’s February now, so I guess I don’t really look at them as freshmen anymore.
Maryland: Hosts Northwestern on Thursday.
Illinois: Plays at Purdue on Thursday.