MINNEAPOLIS — As Brinae Alexander searched for a teammate to inbound to, Bri McDaniel darted into the paint and lost her defender thanks to an Allie Kubek screen.

Alexander spotted McDaniel before any Illinois player did. Alexander passed her the ball and McDaniel finished an open layup to extend her team’s fourth quarter lead.

McDaniel led Maryland women’s basketball with 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds for her first career double-double. She was one of five Terps to score in double figures. That balanced effort helped the Terps, the No. 8 seed, beat the Fighting Illini, the No. 9 seed, 75-65, to advance to the tournament quarterfinals.

“Love that we flipped the script in the second, third and fourth quarters,” coach Brenda Frese said. “[Alexander], [McDaniel], [Kubek] leading the way for us says a lot about how this team dug deep and found a way to battle.”

The Terps will play No. 1 seed Ohio State Friday at 12:30 pm EST. Coach Brenda Frese and her team have made it to the quarterfinals or further in every conference tournament since joining the Big Ten.

Illinois made eight of its first nine shots. Maryland made just two of its first nine. That imbalance in precision led the Fighting Illini to an early 18-7 edge, forcing Frese to call timeout.

[3 Maryland women’s basketball players receive All-Big Ten honors]

The Terps were able to slow down the Illini’s offense coming out of the timeout — forcing three straight misses and a shot clock violation — by using their wingspan to deter open looks at the basket. But they still couldn’t execute on offense.

Illinois finished the first frame with a 68.8 field goal percentage. Maryland shot 22.2 percent and trailed by 14.

The Terps picked up their defense in the second quarter after switching to a predominantly player-to-player defense, per Frese. They turned their stops into transition points.

“We just came together and told each other we got to pick this up and be better on the defensive end,” McDaniel said. “We … put together a good game after we were down and just never looked back.”

Brinae Alexander noticed an opportunity for a steal midway through the frame. She raced to tip the ball away just before it reached the Illinois target.

No Fighting Illini could match Alexander’s speed — she dashed down the court for an open layup.

Maryland scored 12 of its 25 second-quarter points off turnovers and cut the 14-point deficit to two at halftime.

Two Terps’ offensive fouls at the beginning of the third quarter halted the forward surge. Illinois pushed its lead back up to nine.

[Maryland women’s basketball’s NCAA tournament chances heavily hinge on this week]

But then, Maryland embarked on a 16-2 run, taking its first lead since the early first quarter off a Shyanne Sellers jumper and ending the quarter up five.

The Terps shot 69.2 percent from the field in the third quarter, with Sellers and Jakia Brown-Turner each making three of four attempts.

The Terps’ defense maintained its strong play, totalling four blocks. Illinois made just 30 percent of its baskets in the third quarter after shooting 50 percent in the first half.

Illinois fought back in the fourth. Foul trouble forced Sellers to the bench and put the Fighting Illini on the verge of the bonus with over seven minutes left in the game. The Terps also went on a near-three minute scoreless drought.

Sellers returned to the game and soon fouled out, finishing with 11 points, eight assists and two blocks.

Even without Sellers, Maryland stayed strong to finish the game. The Terps only allowed Illinois to make one of its last six field goals, sealing a win that keeps their postseason journey alive.

“We talked about having that dog mentality,” Alexander said. “Also you know, it’s not really how you start, it’s about how you finish and so I think we finished strong and I’m proud of my team for that.”