Maryland women’s basketball put an end to its four-game losing streak Tuesday, defeating Rutgers, 67-59.
Here are some takeaways from the contest.
Fatigue played a factor
Fatigue was certainly the overarching theme of the game.
The Terps put a great deal of energy into this past Saturday’s contest against then-No. 3 Iowa, and with another late tip, this time on the road, a slow start was imminent.
In the first quarter, the Terps scored 16 points, but did so on just 6-for-20 shooting. Luckily for them, the Scarlet Knights responded with a paltry 4-for-10 shooting performance of their own.
But Frese was most disappointed in the half-hearted second-quarter effort by her squad. The team turned almost solely to the three-ball, but shot just 1-for-6 from deep in the quarter. To make matters even more frustrating, Maryland grabbed seven offensive rebounds in just the second frame, but didn’t go up aggressively after getting them. Rather, the ball was continuously swung back out to the perimeter.
The fourth quarter saw the Terps run out of gas. They shot just 2-for-8 from the field, a microcosm of their 32.4% shooting. Furthermore, they lazily committed six turnovers in a span of eight minutes.
Some more lineup tweaks
Faith Masonius stole a starting spot from Allie Kubek, making it her first start in well over a month. She ended up playing 29 minutes, which was the third-most on the team and surpassed Bri McDaniel’s total of 22 minutes. Meanwhile, Kubek saw just 12 minutes on the night, which was the least playing time for anyone who saw the court.
Frese has occasionally been critical of Kubek’s defensive performances and ability to operate within a zone defense, as well as her tendency to rack up fouls. But in just 12 minutes, Kubek was extremely impactful, grabbing a team-high six offensive rebounds and looking fresh throughout.
Perhaps Frese has found the optimal balance as it pertains to lineup decisions. It will be especially important to have some semblance of a viable bench contribution, especially as that aforementioned fatigue factor grows.
Late composure defined the Terps
The Terps were the clear winners of about 90% of the game, and it wasn’t particularly close. But a major Rutgers fourth-quarter run put Maryland’s victory chances in jeopardy, even cutting the lead down to just three at one point.
So how did the Terps respond?
Some might say not too well. Maryland didn’t make a single field goal in nearly the last five minutes of play. The offense looked jumbled and uncoordinated, as it had for most of the night. There was no clear flow or plan of execution. But once the Scarlet Knights did cut the cut down to three with just over 90 seconds left, the Terps suddenly found their focus.
After calling a timeout, Frese opted to put the ball in McDaniel’s hands. Despite Shyanne Sellers accumulating the most points over the course of the contest, she shot just 4-for-15 and was noticeably hobbled at times with her knee injury. Nonetheless, the goal was evident: slow the game down.
Maryland did just that. In consecutive possessions, McDaniel took possession of the ball for the entire shot clock before deftly maneuvering through the teeth of the defense and earning back-to-back trips to the free-throw line. She sank all four free throws.
On the other side of the ball, it was Brinae Alexander who put a stop to Rutgers’ late push, drawing a critical charge with a minute to play and effectively putting the game on ice.