Maryland women’s basketball had little trouble with Rutgers Thursday night, taking down the Scarlet Knights 88-60 for its fourth straight win.
Kaila Charles led the Terps in scoring for the fourth straight game, finishing with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting. She also stuffed the stat sheet with six rebounds and five assists. Eleanna Christinaki had her best overall offensive game in a Maryland uniform with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Stephanie Jones and Kristen Confroy also finished in double figures.
The Terps shot 59.3 percent from the field, their highest mark in Big Ten play. They also hit seven of nine three-point attempts, and that 77 percent clip is easily their best performance from beyond the arc this season. They controlled the boards as well, outrebounding the Scarlet Knights 46-26.
Maryland played solid defense on Rutgers until the game was out of reach. The Scarlet Knights shot 34.8 percent from the floor, but shot 30 percent through three quarters and then spiked to 47 percent in the final frame. High-scoring guard Tyler Scaife was a non-factor, scoring a season low six points on 3-of-15 shooting.
Maryland continued its recent trend of fast starts, hitting six of its first seven shots to build a 16-4 lead. It cooled off and hit just two of its last nine shots to end the quarter, but played solid defense and led 23-10 after the opening frame.
The Terps stayed hot in the second quarter, shooting 66 percent from the field. Charles heated up as well, scoring 11 points and hitting all five of her shots. Turnovers started to catch up with Maryland at the end of the half, as it turned it over four times in the last two minutes. The turnovers weren’t as much a result of Rutgers’ press as it was of some uncharacteristic mistakes. The Scarlet Knights weren’t able to capitalize on the missed opportunities, and Maryland was able to build a 15 point-lead before Khadaizha Sanders knocked in a three right before halftime to cut the lead to 41-29.
Rutgers continued to hang around, and Brenda Frese called a timeout with Maryland leading 48-37 with 5:32 to go in the third quarter. That was the best window for the Scarlet Knights to make a run. They didn’t do it.
Confroy misfired on a pass to Christinaki, who stepped out of bounds, and then Maryland committed a shot clock violation on the next possession. Rutgers didn’t score on either of the possessions following the turnovers, and the Terps ran away with it after that. Jones scored the last eight points of the quarter, which featured back-to-back three-point plays and a putback in the final seconds to give Maryland a 62-40 lead, at the time its largest of the night.
The Terps came out blazing to start the fourth, hitting eight straight shots. By that point, the 80-47 lead was their largest of the night. Channise Lewis hit two threes late to add to her six assists, and Maryland had its fourth straight victory when time expired.
Maryland goes for its fifth straight win Sunday at Nebraska.
Three things to know
1. Maryland was incredibly efficient on offense. The Terps got looks all over the place, and hit shots from there too. Maryland’s five starters all shot over 50 percent from the field, and four players had four assists or more. By the end of the night, the Terps had scored 10 more points than any team had scored against Rutgers all season.
2. Eleanna Christinaki was all over the place. The junior continues to get more comfortable with every game she plays in a Maryland uniform. She had a strong night offensively, made at least one full-court assist and was around plenty of loose balls. Even when she has an off night, there are still ways for her to make a positive impact.
3. Maryland handled Rutgers’ press. The 18 turnovers would say otherwise, but the Terps didn’t let Rutgers’ defense affect the game. Maryland picked apart the Scarlet Knights in the halfcourt, broke the press most of the time, and had some nice finishes in transition.