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Kaila Charles scores 20 points as No. 20 Maryland women beat Illinois, 79-60, for fourth straight victory

Kaila Charles had 20 points and nine rebounds to help No. 20 Maryland beat Illinois, 79-60, on Thursday night.

Shakira Austin added 14 points and Sara Vujacic scored 11 for the Terps (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight game. Vujacic was 3-for-6 from 3-point range.

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Maryland opened the game with a 10-0 run and led the entire way, going into halftime with a 40-27 lead. The Illini (10-9, 1-7) twice cut the deficit to nine early in the third quarter, but Maryland led by double digits for the rest of the second half.

The Terps outrebounded Illinois 19-7 on the offensive glass and 52-35 overall.

Ali Andrews scored 20 points and Petra Holesinska had 14 points for Illinois, which has lost three in a row.

Watson honored: Maryland senior Blair Watson was one of 15 players in the country named to the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year midseason team Thursday.

Watson leads the Terps with 53 steals this season (3.1 per game). She is second in the Big Ten and 15th in the nation in takeaways.

Watson tied the 39-year-old program record nine steals in a matchup at Iowa earlier this month. The last Terp with nine steals in a game was Debbie Lytle in 1982 and 1981.

As a team, the Terps are third in the country and lead the Big Ten in steals with 13.4 per game. Their turnover margin is +8.2, which is the best in the league and No. 7 in the NCAA.

Watson’s numbers have increased across the board in her senior season, as she’s averaging 9.6 points, 4.2 boards and shooting 38.5 percent from outside the arc. She’s made 179 career 3-pointers in 98 career games. Watson is No. 4 on Maryland’s all-time 3-pointers list.

Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.

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