Illinois falls to No. 20 Maryland at home

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Illinois falls to No. 20 Maryland at home

Ali Andrews shoots a three-point during the Illinois' game against Maryland at State Farm Center on Thursday.

Ali Andrews shoots a three-point during the Illinois' game against Maryland at State Farm Center on Thursday.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Ali Andrews shoots a three-point during the Illinois' game against Maryland at State Farm Center on Thursday.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Ali Andrews shoots a three-point during the Illinois' game against Maryland at State Farm Center on Thursday.

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

Ali Andrews led the Illini women’s basketball team (10-8, 1-6) with 20 points in a 79-60 loss against Maryland (15-4, 6-2) Thursday night at the State Farm Center.

Freshman Kennedi Myles did not play due to a concussion.

Illinois was off to a slow start, down 8-0, within the first two minutes. Maryland guard Kaila Charles scored the first six points of the game, and Maryland forward Stephanie Jones scored at 1:12 in the first to give Maryland an 8-0 edge. Illinois promptly called a timeout.

Sophomore forward Mackenzie Blazek scored Illinois’ first basket of the night but was subbed out after committing two fouls in as many seconds.

In the middle of the first, Andrews scored five points within a minute to cut Maryland’s lead to 10-7.

Maryland exited the first quarter with an 11-point lead, 22-11. Charles led all players in scoring in the first period with 10 points.

Illinois junior forward Nancy Panagiotopoulou Andritsopoulou made her Illinois debut during the first quarter. She scored at just under the three-minute mark but was subbed out early in the second quarter.

Illinois started off the second quarter on a completely different note. A layup by Andrews and a 3-pointer by senior guard Brandi Beasley cut Maryland’s lead to six.

Just after the halfway mark of the second, junior guard Petra Holešínská scored a 3-pointer to make it a 2-basket game. Maryland responded with its own 3-pointer.

“Baskets give us momentum,” Holešínská said. “We just want to play hard for the whole game.”

At 1:15 left in the second, both teams were in the midst of a scoring drought at the media timeout. Illinois’ scoring drought was 2:24 and Maryland’s 2:08.

Illinois entered the half down, 40-27. Maryland went on a 4-0 run to close out the half, and outscored the Illini, 18-16, in the second. Andrews led the Illini with 11 points in the first half, and Charles led Maryland with 14.

Maryland head coach Brenda Frese thought the Illini, particularly Andrews, made the game very competitive.

“Obviously, any time you go on the road, you know, it’s always a tough environment,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said. “(Andrews is) a tremendous three-point shooter. We did not do a good job at all.”

Holešínská scored the first basket of the second half, after scoring five points in the first half. A pair of threes courtesy of Holešínská and Andrews cut Maryland’s lead to single digits.

In the middle of the third, the Illini went on an over-three-minute scoring drought that overlapped with a 7-0 Maryland run.  The Terrapins were able to take a 55-37 lead with 3:13 left in the third.

Illinois ended the third going 3-for-3 from the field, facing a deficit of 60-46 entering the final period.

Andrews had 9 points from behind the arc heading into the fourth but made her fourth 3-pointer to open the final quarter.

“We fought the whole game,” Andrews said. “We can’t have 10-point lapses against a team like Maryland (because) that’s going to be hard to come back from and we just need to learn from that.”

Maryland continued to dominate the game in the closing minutes as Blazek and Andrews fouled out. Despite fouling out, Andrews led the Illini with 20 points.

“Obviously, the size of Maryland presents problems for a lot of people, not just us,” Fahey said. “We held them to a good shooting percentage.”

@claire_obrien43

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