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Maryland women’s basketball takes down Rutgers, 72-54

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The Terps used balance offense and strong defense to sweep the season series with the Scarlet Knights.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Women's - Maryland at Nebraska Photo by John Peterson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maryland women’s basketball picked up another win on the road, defeating Rutgers 72-54 Sunday for its seventh straight win.

It was a balanced effort on the offensive end for the Terps, with five players scoring in double figures. Eleanna Christinaki led all scorers with 18 points and chipped in six rebounds, while Stephanie Jones added 13 points and five steals. Kristen Confroy finished with 12 points and hit her 200th career three-pointer in the second quarter, and Kaila Charles and Ieshia Small finished with 10 points each.

Like many of its road victories this season, Maryland continued to get it done defensively. The Terps held Rutgers to 37 percent shooting and denied the Scarlet Knights numerous opportunities in transition.

They also forced more turnovers than the team that leads the Big Ten in that category. Rutgers had 22 turnovers, compared to just 11 for Maryland.

The Terps only sore spot defensively was on the glass. Rutgers outrebounded Maryland 36-30, including 16 offensive rebounds. Victoria Harris had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Stasha Carey had 10 rebounds.

The pace in the first quarter favored Maryland, but the Terps struggled somewhat on the defensive end. The Scarlet Knights scored their first 10 points in the paint, and Harris had 10 points in just over six minutes. It was her first game scoring in double figures in nearly two months.

Maryland made up for its struggles down low by forcing 10 turnovers. The Terps scored nine points off those giveaways, which allowed them to keep up with the Scarlet Knights’ 72 percent first quarter shooting. Maryland also got to the foul line 12 times in the opening frame but struggled from the charity stripe, hitting just eight. Rutgers’ hot shooting kept them in the game, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick drained a three at the first quarter buzzer to cut Maryland’s lead to 22-19.

The second quarter saw the Terps increase their lead despite getting into more and more foul trouble as the quarter went on. Christinaki had the hot hand early, scoring Maryland’s first six points to push the lead to seven with 6:28 to go in the second quarter. Ciani Cryor cut the lead to four three minutes later, but it was all Maryland after that.

With Scaife on the bench, Rutgers went cold while the Terps hit six of their last seven shots to end the half. The Scarlet Knights shot just 15 percent in the second quarter, and Maryland led 43-27 at halftime. The run came while Channise Lewis, Christinaki and Charles were all on the bench with foul trouble.

Rutgers tried to slowly chip away at the lead in the third quarter, but kept shooting itself in the foot with turnovers and missed shots. The team never scored more than four consecutive points, and Maryland was up 55-44 after three quarters.

The Scarlet Knights cut the lead to 10 twice in the final frame, but their chances of winning evaporated in one sequence. Charles had a tough finish in the paint to push the the Terps’ lead back to 12, and C. Vivian Stringer thought she traveled and was called for a technical foul. Confroy hit one of two free throws, and Christinaki hit a jumper on the next Maryland possession after Stasha Carey was called for an offensive foul at the other end.

The Terps are now 22-3 overall and 11-1 in Big Ten play, and will return to the Xfinity Center Thursday to take on Purdue.

Three things to know

1. This was Maryland’s most complete road win. In Maryland’s other road games, the Terps jumped out to an early lead only to let their opponent back into the game. In this contest, they took a double-digit lead in the second quarter and held it the rest of the way.

2. Maryland struggled with rebounding again. After being outrebounded at Michigan State, the Terps had issues on the glass again Sunday. It’s the first time this year Maryland has lost the rebounding battle in consecutive games.

3. Sarah Myers played her most serious minutes in a long time. With Lewis, Charles and Christinaki all in foul trouble in the first half, Brenda Frese opened up her bench more than usual. Myers played more than a few seconds in the first half for the first time in a while, and although she had an up-and-down performance, the sophomore gave Maryland some much-needed minutes.