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Three takeaways from Maryland women’s basketball’s win against Rutgers

The Terps certainly didn’t play their best, but got the job done on the road.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland women’s basketball was able to win its first Big Ten matchup in the 2020 season, taking down Rutgers in a 91-87 nail-biter in Piscataway, New Jersey.

The Terps didn’t have the best performance of their young season, but were fortunate enough to close out the Scarlet Knights late in the contest.

Maryland now stands pat with a strong 4-1 record, with the lone loss coming to Missouri State on Nov. 28. The Terps will look to keep their momentum going with a home matchup against James Madison on Saturday. Here are my three biggest takeaways from the win over Rutgers.

The Terps struggled with their shooting.

Despite shooting about 60% from 3-point range in the second half, Maryland had one of its toughest games on the offensive side of the ball this season.

The Terps shot around just 42% from the field against Rutgers, while their shooting season average coming into the game was around 51.6 percent from the floor.

From long range, the Terps achieved just a 42.3% clip. Maryland excelled from behind the arc coming into the game against Rutgers, shooting at a 47.9% clip.

“I thought we had to get in a rhythm. I mean their defense was, you know, they would press but then they would kind of go back and gap their defense so it took us a while to kind of figure out, you know where we were going to be able to attack,” head coach Brenda Frese said about Maryland’s shooting struggles.

Just two Terps shot over 50% from the field throughout the contest, with Mimi Collins and Katie Benzan coming away with the most efficient offensive performances on the Maryland roster.

“We looked a little rusty, you know, having the 10 days off from playing an actual game, but you know, was really proud of the fact our players just stayed the course,” Frese said.

Even though it was somewhat of a poor team shooting performance, Maryland was still able to get the job done offensively on the road against a decent Rutgers team.

Mimi Collins had a strong performance as Angel Reese’s replacement.

After star freshman Angel Reese went down with a foot fracture that will keep her out for about 12 weeks, it remained to be seen which Terp would need to step up in her absence on the floor.

Those questions were answered with Collins’ stellar performance in an expanded role on the offense.

In 29 minutes of play, the redshirt sophomore flourished offensively with 22 points on an 8-13 shooting performance and finished 2 for 2 from 3-point range as well. She also chipped in with 7 rebounds in what was a solid night on the offensive side of the ball.

“I thought her play today was sensational. I mean, this is where we need Mimi to play, I mean this is the X-Factor she can bring to the table when she’s that locked in and I mean she made difficult shots,” Frese said.

This was the first game of the season in which Collins scored at least double-digit points. Her performance against Rutgers gave her a season high in game minutes and tied her season highs for threes and rebounds.

“My mindset is just straight toughness,” Mimi Collins said after scoring a career-high in points on the afternoon.

It seems Frese and the Terps have found a serviceable replacement in the Collins for the next few months while Reese rests with her injury.

A brilliant fourth quarter clinched the win for Maryland.

Coming up clutch and pulling away in the final quarter is what separates the good teams from the great teams in college basketball.

On Monday afternoon, the Terps did just that.

Maryland and Rutgers were locked into a 68-68 game when the third quarter buzzer sounded. Then, the Terps jumped out to a quick 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter to push the score to 75-68.

The Terps led all the way to the end and despite a valiant comeback attempt from the Scarlet Knights, Maryland was able to come out on top 91-87.

“I thought we had great poise and composure late game down the stretch and, you know, really thought between Chloe and Mimi, I mean just significant contributions that we had to have,” Frese said.

Maryland shot the ball beautifully in the final quarter, going 7-12 from the field as a team. Collins and Channise Lewis combined for 14 of the Terps’ 23 fourth quarter points.

Coming up big in the final frame was a huge boost for Maryland, and that’s the kind of late game performance that Frese and the Terps will consistently need as this season progresses through December.

“Excited and proud to be able to get a road win and be able to go back to College Park,” Frese said.