After losing its first game of the season to Rutgers on New Year’s Eve, Maryland women’s basketball got its revenge on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Scarlet Knights 62-48.
Kaila Charles had yet another great game for Maryland, leading all scorers with 17 points and making seven of her 10 field goals. Stephanie Jones was bottled up in the first meeting between the two teams, but on the road in Piscataway, New Jersey, she excelled from start to finish. The junior forward scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting with six rebounds, compared to her seven points and five rebounds in the last game of 2018.
Shooting was the difference on Sunday, as Rutgers seemed to have a lid on its basket all day long. The Scarlet Knights were particularly awful in the first quarter, as they shot just 2-of-12 on field goals and missed all of their three-pointers. And after being outrebounded 38-28 last time, Maryland dominated on the boards this time around—the Terrapins had a 35-24 advantage in the rebounding battle.
Just like Thursday against Northwestern, the Terrapins got off to a great start and built a sizable lead early on. Taylor Mikesell and Blair Watson nailed a pair of three-pointers on the team’s first possession, and after a Ciani Cryor layup cut the score to 7-2, the Terps went on an incredible run. The Scarlet Knights missed their next eight shots, five of those being layups, and failed to score a single point in the ensuing 7:12. In that time, the Terrapins went on an 11-0 run to take an 18-2 lead, and had they not suffered a scoring drought of four-plus minutes themselves, the lead would have been even larger.
After scoring just four points in the first quarter, Rutgers’ offense finally woke up in the second. Thanks to Arella Guirantes, the team’s leading scorer on the afternoon, it started the period on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to just eight points. Maryland head coach Brenda Frese called timeout to reset the team, and it worked. Sara Vujacic hit a three-pointer on the next possession, and that jumpstarted a 9-4 Maryland run over the next 90 seconds. That put the lead up to 13 points in the Terps’ favor and it stayed that way, as they took a 34-21 lead into halftime.
Leading by 13 coming out of the break, Maryland didn’t let Rutgers make things interesting. led by Charles and Blair Watson, the No. 10 Terrapins scored 13 of the first 18 points of the third period, extending its already-comfortable lead to 21 points. Guirantes tried her best to single-handedly bring the Scarlet Knights, scoring six straight points in just over a minute. But she was matched score-for-score by Maryland, and Brianna Fraser drilled a buzzer-beater from the top of the key to head into the fourth quarter with a 53-34 advantage.
Maryland kept up its level of play for the first half of the final 10 minutes, getting the lead up to 22 points and icing the victory. Rutgers ended the game on a 9-2 run to make the final score more respectable, but it never cut the deficit to single digits.
The Terps return home to host Nebraska on Thursday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET and the game can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
Three things to know
1. Maryland got its revenge. The Terrapins were a perfect 12-0 entering the first matchup against Rutgers, and they were outclassed all game on their own home court to end 2018 on a sour note. But on Sunday, Maryland traveled north to the Rutgers Athletic Center and dominated the Scarlet Knights from tipoff to take a 1.5-game lead in the Big Ten standings.
2. Kaila Charles was great. The junior leads the team in scoring, but she still finds ways to impress as the season wears on. Against one of the best defenses in all of college basketball, Charles scored 17 points and missed just three field goals on the afternoon.
3. The Terrapins controlled the glass. Over the six-game winning streak entering play on Sunday, the Terps had won the rebounding battle in each victory. And against Rutgers, a team which had dominated them in the first meeting, they won the battle on the boards by a 35-24 margin. That included seven offensive rebounds, leading to nine second-chance points and a convincing victory.