The Maryland women’s basketball team hasn’t played a ranked opponent in almost two months.

The Terps have faced just three ranked foes all year and none since their only loss of the season, 87-81, to No. 1 Connecticut on Dec. 29.

On Monday, No. 2 Maryland travels to No. 12 Ohio State for the team’s biggest game since that loss. Despite a lot at stake for their matchup with the Buckeyes, the Terps aren’t treating it different than any other game.

“Every game we have to play our hardest and work our hardest,” guard Kaila Charles said. “We have to play our Maryland basketball and keep doing the same thing.”

Ohio State (23-5, 13-1 Big Ten) is one game behind Maryland (26-1, 14-0) in the Big Ten standings. With a win Monday, Maryland would clinch its third consecutive Big Ten regular season title.

In their first year in the conference, the Terps went undefeated through the Big Ten schedule and tournament. Last season, though, Ohio State beat Maryland twice in the regular season, handing Maryland its only two Big Ten losses since joining the conference.

But that hasn’t been a significant motivating factor during the preparation for Monday’s game, coach Brenda Frese said.

“Really, it is such a new team and there’s so many different parts than what we had a year ago,” Frese said, referencing the team’s seven newcomers and two freshmen starters. “They don’t spend a lot of time in the past but they recognize that Ohio State is a great team.”

Maryland’s schedule this year has lacked quality opponents. Frese, wanting to ease her young team into the collegiate game, scheduled just three non-conference opponents ranked in the top 25. Of the other 10 non-conference foes, only one has an RPI in the top 100.

Combined with a down year for the Big Ten, Maryland’s schedule has kept the Terps’ RPI ranking (20) lower than the polls (2). It’s also a large reason the NCAA Selection Committee tabbed the Terps as the No. 9 team in its biweekly rankings.

A win on the road against Ohio State could offer a significant boost to the Terps’ tournament resumé.

“We’re definitely motivated and definitely excited for this game,” guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough said. “We know what’s at stake.”

Stopping guard Kelsey Mitchell will be a key factor in beating Ohio State, Frese said. Mitchell plays 33.8 minutes per game, about 11 more than the next-closest teammate, and averages 23.2 points, almost double her next closest-teammate.

Last year, Mitchell led all scorers in both matchups against Maryland, dropping 28 and 33 points in the wins over the Terps.

“You’re not going to stop her. For us it’s just making her have to take more difficult shots,” Frese said. “She can score at every level, which is what makes her so dangerous. She’s going to get some of hers.”

Mitchell paces the Buckeyes’ third-ranked offense, and while watching film on Ohio State, the Terps — who lead the nation in scoring — noticed similarities to their own fast-paced, high-octane style. That places an extra premium on the defensive end, they said.

“We’re going to have to get back and stop the ball,” Charles said. “It’s going to be a good challenge. We’ll see how we adapt to their play.”

After missing starting guard Destiny Slocum due to illness for its 89-40 win over Wisconsin on Feb. 15, Maryland should be back to full strength Monday. The team “played it safe” and limited Slocum in practice when she returned before allowing her to participate fully Sunday, Frese said.

Some of Slocum’s most memorable moments from her freshman season have come against highly touted opponents. Against UConn, she drained deep 3-pointers on her way to 23 points, and against then-No. 7 Louisville, she finished a late and-one layup while she was hit across the face.

On Monday, she and the rest of the Terps will get a rare chance at another high-stakes game.

“We’d rather play in highly competitive, contested environments,” Frese said. “[But] you don’t put more emphasis on one game more than another.”