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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Rutgers preview: Terps play 2nd straight home game

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The Terps can reach 7-0 in the Big Ten.

Maryland v Connecticut Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The Maryland women’s basketball team has a chance to improve to 7-0 in the Big Ten Sunday, as the No. 3 Terps host Rutgers at Xfinity Center.

Maryland pulled away from a tough Michigan team in the fourth quarter Thursday. The Terps’ last three contests have been close for at least a sizable chunk of the game, after some blowouts earlier in conference play.

Rutgers struggled mightily early in the season, starting 3-12 with eight double-digit losses. The Scarlet Knights have righted the ship to some extent, having split their last six games. They beat Penn State, who gave Maryland fits last week, by 16 points on Dec. 31.

Sunday’s contest tips off at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The team will be giving out Brenda Frese bobbleheads to 500 fans through a lottery system.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-14, 3-4 Big Ten)

2015-16 record: 19-15, 8-10

The coach: C. Vivian Stringer has been the coach at Rutgers since 1995, and she’s guided the Scarlet Knights to the tournament in 15 of her first 21 seasons, including a runner-up tournament finish in 2007. She’s 455-238 at Rutgers, and in 45 total years on the sidelines, she’s got 977 wins.

Players to know

Shrita Parker, junior, guard, 5’7, No. 5. The Scarlet Knights’ only double-digit scorer at 11.3 points per game, including 16 in the Big Ten. Parker’s shooting has picked up of late, as she’s shooting .470/.423/.821 in conference play.

Kandiss Barber, junior, forward, 5’10, No. 22. Barber transferred from the College of Southern Idaho, and she’s been a real contributor this year. She’s averaging 9.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Only seven of her 212 shots this year have been from beyond the arc.

Khadaizha Sanders, sophomore, guard, 5’7, No. 12. The sophomore got some run last season and has been Rutgers’ anchor this year. She’s the only player to start all 10 games and leads the team with 4.6 assists per game, to go with an average of 8.4 points.

Strength

Not getting shots blocked. The Scarlet Knights have only been rejected 12 times in seven conference games. The Brionna Jones force might counter this, but it’s still somewhat impressive, as Rutgers doesn’t exactly live from long range (less than 30 percent of the team’s shots are from deep).

Weakness

Offense. This group averages just 51.6 points per game, which is 336th in the nation and last among Power 5 teams. This is partly a result of playing down-tempo, but the team isn’t all that efficient, either. Maryland makes a habit of going over 90 points, and if the Terps are clicking, it’ll be really tough for Rutgers to keep up.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 83-62.