Maryland beats Nancy Fahey’s Illinois, team in ‘transition’

COLLEGE PARK, MD - NOVEMBER 13: Kaila Charles /

COLLEGE PARK, MD — It’s not often that a team can beat a legend in college basketball, but Maryland accomplished that feat in Xfinity Center.

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Maryland topped Illinois 100-65 in their Big Ten opener Thursday night in College Park, toppling coaching stalwart Nancy Fahey, in her first season leading the Illini.

The Terps followed a familiar script: shooting 48 percent from the field, 42 percent from behind the arc. With Florida transfer Eleanna Christinaki now officially in the lineup, the Terps enjoy a nice mix of veteran and young power. Kaila Charles has a game high 24 points, while sophomore Blair Watson scored 22 points.

Concerns about how the team would fare without WNBA-bound Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones have been put to bed.

As for Illinois, they are 9-6 on the season, but before she was coach for the Illini, Nancy Fahey was a Division III icon, with a 737-133 record at Washington University in St. Louis. She became the first Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee as a Division III coach. She is also the only Division III coach to win five national championships.

In 1999, became the second team in NCAA basketball history any division, men or women to post back-to-back undefeated national championship seasons. Fahey also became the fastest head coach to reach 600 wins, doing it in her 706th game during the 2011-2012 season.

“It’s been a transition obviously,” Fahey told The Summitt after Thursday night’s game. “I really enjoy trying to change the culture of Illinois and trying to go back in the right direction. You’re going to have games like this. I was displeased with some of the things that we did today, but it is a transition and I understood that when I got the job, but we’re going to keep fighting.”

As for Maryland head coach Brenda Frese, she was most excited about the 42 points her team scored in the paint.

“I thought all of our bigs were ready to play, and we talked about if you look at the weapons this team has inside the perimeter game, every game is going to be different in terms of how you’re going to try and stop us,” Frese told The Summitt. “We have that kind of dominance that our post players displayed tonight. That was where we needed to go.”

Next up for Maryland is a road trip Penn State. Tip off starts at 2 p.m. EST on December 31. Illinois also plays December 31, hosting Northwestern at 3 p.m. EST.