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Maryland women’s basketball upset at home by Rutgers, 73-65

The Terps suffer their first loss of the season in their final game of 2018.

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Bridgeport Regional-Maryland vs Oregon David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland women’s basketball ended 2018 on a sour note. In front of a boisterous crowd that appeared ready to ring in the new year, the Terps were upset by Rutgers, 73-65.

The Scarlet Knights controlled the game from start to finish, keeping Maryland at a distance for much of the game. They never led by more than eight points, but the Terps only led for 1:43 and never led by more than two points.

Taylor Mikesell led Maryland with 18 points, and Kaila Charles, Blair Watson and Brianna Fraser joined the freshman in double figures, finishing with 15, 11 and 10, respectively.

While no player dominated for Rutgers, the Terps struggled with Stasha Carey all afternoon. The redshirt senior finished with 18 points and six rebounds, helping to set the tone for how Rutgers played all afternoon. The Scarlet Knights’ pair of 5’5 guards also finished in double figures, with Charice Wilson finishing with 10 points and Ciana Cryor stuffing the stat with 10 points, nine rebounds, 11 assists and three steals.

Despite shooting 39 percent from the field, Rutgers won the game by taking away what Maryland does best. The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Terps 38-28, including a 19-8 disparity on the offensive glass. The Scarlet Knights also shot 9-of-21 on three-pointers after coming into this game shooting 31.5 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Both teams came out firing to start the game, with Rutgers jumping out to a 28-24 lead after the first 10 minutes. The Scarlet Knights took advantage of some suspect Maryland defense and an uncharacteristic early shooting spurt, hitting five of their first eight shots from three-point range. Rutgers led by as much as eight with 4:14 to go in the first quarter, a lead that was enough to keep the Terps at bay for the whole first half.

The Scarlet Knights handled the Terps inside for much of the half, outscoring them 20-12 in the paint while pulling down nine offensive rebounds. Maryland shot 57 percent in the first quarter, with the offense running much better after Channise Lewis checked into the game.

The Terps tied the game less than 90 seconds into the second quarter, but could never take the lead. Maryland had six possessions with the chance to take the lead after that, and never took advantage due to turnovers and countless missed open shots. The Terps kept the game within one possession for much of the quarter, but two free throws from Cryor right before the halftime buzzer gave Rutgers a 41-36 lead heading into the locker room.

All the offense in the first half grinded to a halt at the start of the third quarter. Both teams scored just one basket before the media timeout and started a combined 2-of-14 field. Rutgers led by as much as six points, but Maryland scored the final six points of the quarter to head into the final frame tied at 47.

Charles tied the game with a layup following an offensive rebound with 36 seconds to go in the third quarter, then scored on the Terps’ first possession of the fourth to give Maryland its first lead since the opening minutes. She scored Maryland’s next four points, only to be matched by Rutgers freshman Noga Peleg Pelc. The freshman guard from Isreal hit a three, a jumper and then another three on consecutive possessions to give the Scarlet Knights a 57-53 lead with 5:37 remaining. Mikesell hit another three to cut the lead back to one, but Arella Guirantes answered back to give Rutgers the lead for good.

The Scarlet Knights went 11-for-12 on free throws down the stretch, never letting Maryland get within three to seal the upset.

Maryland will be back in action Saturday against Ohio State at 4 p.m.

Three things to know

  1. This was a wakeup call the team needed. For the first time this season, Maryland faced a team that had an answer for everything the Terps tried to do. Rutgers made Maryland uncomfortable throughout and made the Terps a one-and-done team on the offensive end for much of the afternoon.
  2. Rutgers dominated the offensive glass. Maryland came into the game with a plus-17 average rebounding margin, but the Scarlet Knights made the Terps look pedestrian. Rutgers finished with 19 offensive rebounds, and more importantly, limited Maryland’s second chance opportunities. The Terps finished with just eight offensive rebounds and seven second-chance points.
  3. It was another short day for Shakira Austin. While Mikesell didn’t leave the court, Austin had four points, seven rebounds and three blocks in just 16 minutes. She made some good plays on defense but seemed to struggle with the physicality of Rutgers’ post players.