MINNEAPOLIS — Closing out a two-game homestand, Minnesota women’s basketball takes on No. 9/9 Maryland (9-1, 5-0 B1G) Thursday at 5 p.m.
THE OPENING TIP-OFF
• Jasmine Powell leads the Gophers with a scoring average of 16.8 points per game this season. She has scored at least 11 points in each of the last 10 games dating to last season. In addition to her scoring prowess, which ranks 14th in the Big Ten, Powell is third in the conference and 15th nationally with her 5.8 assists per game and ranks second in the Big Ten by playing 35.04 minutes per game. She is also third in the league in 3-pointers made per game (2.50).
• In the season opener, Kadi Sissoko scored 24 points in her first game at Minnesota to tie a school record for points a Gophers debut (Kenisha Bell vs. VCU, 11/15/16). With double-doubles in two of her last three games, Sissoko is second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (3.9) and is 14th in the conference in rebounding average (7.0). Sissoko is one of seven players in the Big Ten to be averaging at least 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
• She missed Sunday’s game against Penn State with a shoulder injury, but Sara Scalia had been picking up her play over her last two games. After missing the first two games of the season, she averaged 8.0 points over her first three contests and was shooting 23.5 percent from the floor (8-34) and 20 percent on 3-pointers (4-20). However, she has averaged 14.5 points over the last two contests, including a season-high 18 points at Iowa on Jan. 6, while shooting 38.5 percent on field goals (10-28) and 38.9 percent on 3’s (7-18).
• After missing the first three games of the season due to injury, Laura Bagwell Katalinich has found her groove with the Gophers and is averaging 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in five games played this year, including 10.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over her last four contests. A graduate transfer from Cornell, Bagwell Katalinich averaged 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game in two seasons for the Big Red, shooting 45.6 percent from the floor and 79.9 percent on free throws.
• The Gophers have four players averaging double figures in Big Ten play with Powell leading the way at 15.2 points per game. Sissoko is behind her at 11.3, while Hubbard (10.7) and Scalia (10.6) are also in the club. Sissoko is also the team’s top rebounder in league play at 6.5 rebounds per contest.
• The Gophers are 1-4 at home this season. Like in Big Ten play, four Gophers are in double figures at Williams Arena. Powell is the team’s leading scorer so far at home at 18.0 points per game, while Bagwell Katalinich (11.0), Sissoko (10.8) and Hubbard (10.8) are all averaging at least 10.0 points per game. Klarke Sconiers is the team’s top rebounder at home with 5.8 boards per game.
• Minnesota and Maryland meet for the 11th time Thursday. The Terrapins have won nine of the 10 all-time meetings.
• In Minneapolis, Maryland has won three of the four meetings. The Gophers’ lone win in the series came at Williams Arena on Feb. 18, 2018 in a 93-74 triumph.
• Thursday will mark the third coaching matchup between Lindsay Whalen and Maryland’s Brenda Frese, who was the head coach at Minnesota during the 2001-02 campaign, Whalen’s sophomore season. The Gophers went 22-8 that year and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Whalen was an All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year, while Frese was the AP National Coach of the Year.
• Maryland’s Zoe Young (West Des Moines Valley) and Minnesota’s Grace Cumming (Des Moines Roosevelt) and Justice Ross (Des Moines East) are all natives of Des Moines, Iowa, and competed against one another in the Central Iowa Metro League.
• Winners of eight in a row, Maryland is ranked ninth in both the Associated Press Poll and WBCA Coaches Poll with a 9-1 record overall and 5-0 mark in league play. The Terrapins lone loss came against then-No. 24 Missouri State on Nov. 28, but the Terps have not lost since.
• Ashley Owusu leads the team with 18.8 points per game, while Diamond Miller (17.5), Katie Benzan (15.1), Chloe Bibby (13.4) and Mimi Collins (10.5) are also averaging double figures. Angel Reese was averaging 13.3 points per game before suffering a right foot fracture on Dec. 3 that is expected to keep her out for 12 weeks.
• Bibby is the team’s top rebounder at 7.3 boards per game, while Collins is right behind her at 7.2.
• As a team, Maryland leads the Big Ten in several categories, including scoring offense (94.1; 2nd nationally), 3-point percentage (.402; 8th), free throws made and attempted (173-218), free throw percentage (.794; 10th) and offensive rebounds per game (15.9). The Terrapins are also ninth nationally in assists per game (19.7; 3rd in B1G) and 11th in field goal percentage (.489; 4th).
• Individually, Benzan leads the Big Ten in 3-pointers made (35; 5th nationally), 3’s made per game (3.50; 9th) and 3-point percentage (.515; 12th).
LAST SEASON AGAINST THE TERRAPINS
• Minnesota closed out the 2019-20 regular season with a 99-44 loss to No. 7/7 Maryland at Williams Arena in front of a season-high crowd of 6,013.
• Sara Scalia led the Golden Gophers with a team-high 10 points, while Taiye Bello pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds to go with seven points.
• Minnesota opened the game on a 6-1 run but Maryland used an ensuing 16-3 stretch to take control of the game. The Terrapins led 30-13 after the first quarter and 45-19 at halftime.
• The third quarter was more of the same as Maryland’s 38 points in the frame were the most by an opponent last year. The Gophers did score 20 points of their own in the third, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Jasmine Powell.
• Maryland’s defense clamped down even further in the fourth, outscoring Minnesota 16-5. Six players reached double figures for the Terrapins, who clinched a share of the Big Ten title along with Northwestern with the victory. Taylor Mikesell was the team’s top scorer at 22 points thanks to six 3-pointers.
TERPS SCOUTING REPORT
Gopher head coach Lindsay Whalen tells us about Maryland:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)