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Maryland women’s basketball vs. Rutgers preview

The No. 4 Terps host the Scarlet Knights to close out the calendar year.

Maryland women’s basketball Kaila Charles vs. Georgia Tech Lila Bromberg-Testudo Times

Maryland women’s basketball nearly gave it all away. On Friday night in State College, Pennsylvania, against the Penn State, the No. 4-ranked Terrapins were trailing through three quarters and seemed hard-pressed to get out of a funk.

But then the fourth quarter happened. After failing to pull away from Penn State for 30 minutes, the Terps outscored the opposition 21-4 while scoring the last 18 points of the game.

That was Maryland’s second straight came coming off a layoff of a least a week, but now the team will move forward on a regular schedule. Only two days will separate Friday’s game from the next, a New Year’s Eve matchup against Rutgers. Tipoff is scheduled for noon ET and can be streamed on BTN2Go.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-3, 1-0 Big Ten)

2017-18 record: 20-12 (7-9 Big Ten)

Head coach C. Vivian Stringer is one of the most notable names in the history of women’s basketball. Now in her 48th year of coaching, Stringer has compiled a 1,005-405 record, becoming just the sixth coach to reach the 1,000-win milestone. A member of the illustrious 2009 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class, Stringer has taken three different programs to the Final Four, including the Scarlet Knights in 2000 and 2007.

Players to watch

Arella Guirantes, redshirt sophomore, guard, 5’11, No. 24. Guirantes has been the de facto leader of the team in her third year with the program. After taking a medical redshirt last season, she has become Rutgers’ leading scorer, averaging 10.1 points while adding 3.4 rebounds per game.

Shasha Carey, redshirt senior, forward, 6’2, No. 35. Carey was the second-leading scorer last season behind Tyler Scaife, averaging 7.5 points per game. But now in her final season with the program, Carey is up to 9.9 points and is getting closer to cracking double digits.


Defense. Rutgers’ scoring hasn’t been up to par thus far, but the Scarlet Knights have more than made up for it with their defensive prowess to start the season. Not only does Rutgers possess the best scoring defense in the Big Ten with an average of 50.2 points per game against, that figure ranks fifth in the entire country. The Scarlet Knights hold opponents to just 31.4 percent shooting, which is top-10 in the country.


Offensive firepower. Rutgers has gotten out to an 8-3 record due to its play on defense, but scoring on offense has proven to be a struggle. With an average of 61.4 points, the Scarlet Knights rank second-to-last in the conference and 241st in the nation. Of players who have played at least five games, Guirantes leads the team in scoring. The team is middle of the pack in shooting, but if the Scarlet Knights fall behind early, they may not be able to catch up.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland get out to a strong start? Maryland fell behind Penn State early and stayed behind throughout the game, and the team was unfortunate they stayed close enough to make a fourth-quarter run. Against Rutgers, it would behoove them to go on their run early and allow the defense to sit on a lead.

2. Does Shakira Austin bounce back? It was a tough outing for the freshman a couple days ago. She had five points on 2-of-3 shooting through the first half and she was completely bottled up by Penn State’s defense. With 8:28 in the third quarter, Brenda Frese pulled her prized prospect and kept her on the bench for the rest of the game.

3. Who steps up for Rutgers on offense? Rutgers’ offense has struggled to start the year. The Scarlet Knights play with a slow tempo, but their shooting has been incredibly average. And while the team has a ton of talent, nobody has consistently stepped up and led the team in scoring. Ciani Cryor has been good in limited time with the team, and she could possibly be an X-factor.