The Big Ten announced the women’s basketball conference schedule Monday, with Maryland playing 20 games in its pursuit to defend last year’s Big Ten title. 

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big Ten raised the number of conference games to 20 this season, as opposed to the 18 games played the past two years. The women’s basketball teams will follow the same medical protocols that were developed by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s first conference matchup will be on the road at Rutgers Dec. 14. It’s first conference home game and first ranked conference matchup will come against No. 20 Ohio State nine days later on Dec. 23. The Terps will play the Buckeyes, and six other Big Ten teams, twice this year, with the second matchup on Jan. 25. 

Maryland will play Penn State on New Year’s Eve, and five days later on Jan. 4, it will return home to face arguably its biggest challenger in the Big Ten, No. 16 Indiana. 

[Undeterred by roster changes, Maryland women’s basketball pushes for another Big Ten title]

Of the seven teams the Terps are set to play twice this season, only one, Ohio State, is ranked. They will face three other ranked Big Ten teams once during the season: the Hoosiers, No. 25 Michigan and No. 17 Northwestern.

Maryland does have a challenging nonconference schedule starting in the Beach Bubble tournament, where it will face No. 24 Missouri State on Nov. 28 and No. 14 Arkansas on Nov. 29. Coach Brenda Frese’s squad will also play three other unranked nonconference opponents at home before its Big Ten opener against Rutgers. 

The team’s season will be affected greatly by the pandemic in one way or another, a fact they are well aware of. 

“I think you have to understand just how precious every game is,” Frese said.

After finishing their season either on Mar. 5 or 6 at home against Penn State, the Terps will begin the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis on Mar. 9.