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Preview: No. 3 Maryland faces first real challenge of season against No. 6 Baylor

With both teams in the Top 10, Sunday’s matinee between the Maryland Terrapins and Baylor Bears looks to be an exciting one. Which team will come out on top and solidify itself as a legit contender?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 18 Women’s - UNC Wilmington at Maryland
From left to right: Ashley Owusu, Chloe Bibby, Angel Reese and Katie Benzan.
Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

No. 3 Maryland faces off against No. 6 Baylor on Sunday in what has the potential to be the best game of this very early season. Both teams have NCAA championship aspirations and neither has disappointed so far.

Everyone expected Maryland to be a powerhouse once again and it has been just that. The Terrapins have brought back virtually the same team that went 26-3 and had one of the best offenses in the nation last year. That offense has picked up right where it left off, averaging 93 points per game and winning every game so far in blowout fashion.

Sunday will be the Terps’ first real test against a top opponent. With all the experience Maryland has, they will undoubtedly be unfazed and ready to play. The question is, can Angel Reese continue her sophomore jump and lead them to victory? Will they be able to keep Baylor’s bigs off the boards? And can they keep players like NaLyssa Smith and Queen Egbo from going off?

Like the Terps, the Baylor Bears have started undefeated, have a high-powered offense and seem to be as good as advertised. Baylor has had a balanced attack in its first three games of the season, with three or more players in double figures in each game.

Despite the balance, the Bears have a few players who have stood out. Smith averages a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds per game and Egbo has also been productive with averages of 14 points and eight rebounds in her 25 minutes of play. With this frontcourt, it’s been a struggle for opposing teams to stop Baylor from getting high percentage shots or keep it off the glass. The Bears will undoubtedly be looking to attack from the post early and often on Sunday against the Terps.

Game information

No. 3 Maryland (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 6 Baylor (3-0, 0-0 Big 12)

When: Sunday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: College Park, MD

How to watch/listen: Big Ten Network/ESPN 1660 AM (Baylor) or 92.3 AM (Baylor)

Key to the matchup: Maryland will have to set and keep up the pace against Baylor. The Terps are more than capable of doing that with players like Ashley Owusu and Angel Reese leading the charge. They’ll have to find a way to win the rebounding battle against the Bears’ dominant frontcourt. Baylor is the slight underdog and will be relying on Smith and Egbo to have big offensive games. It’s not all about offense though; they’ll need to play strong defensively and try to contain Maryland’s top offense. In fact, the game may very well come down to which team makes enough defensive stops late.