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No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball vs Rutgers preview

The Terps bring their eight-game win streak to College Park for a matchup with the Scarlet Knights.

Ohio State v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

No. 13 Maryland women’s basketball won its eighth straight game Thursday — taking down No. 18 Indiana 79-69 — and will look for another Big Ten victory against Rutgers Sunday.

The Scarlet Knights have been one of the pleasant surprises in the conference throughout the season, sporting a 17-5 overall record and receiving votes in both the AP and Coaches poll at different points of the season.

While the Terps have been winning at a torrid pace, head coach Brenda Frese and her staff are still looking for a perfect 40-minute effort. The team is finding ways to win but has not quite been reaching its true potential consistently.

Tipoff is set for noon Sunday in College Park and will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (17-5, 7-4 Big Ten)

2018-19 record: 22-10 (13-5 Big Ten)

Head coach C. Vivian Stringer is one who needs no introduction. A household name and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, Stringer is in her 25th season at the helm of the Scarlet Knights and has had her share of success. Rutgers won just six games in the 2016-17 campaign, but it bounced back to the tune of winning 20-plus games the past two years. The Scarlet Knights are once again rolling and are looking to build off of an NCAA Tournament berth last spring.

Players to know

Redshirt junior guard Arella Guirantes (No. 24) is the biggest all-around threat on the Rutgers roster. She leads the team in minutes per game (36.2), points per game (19.6) and three-point percentage (37.9%). She also ranks second on the team with 6.8 rebounds per game despite being a guard. Guirantes leads the Scarlet Knights with 62 turnovers on the season, however, so forcing her into tough situations could be key.

Junior wing Tekia Mack (No. 31) is a dominant player, using her size and often mismatches to score 12 points per contest and lead Rutgers with seven rebounds per game. At 6’1, she won’t have much of an edge against the Terps, but could still pose a threat. Look for her to matchup with Blair Watson and Kaila Charles if they are on the floor.

Graduate senior guard Khadaizha Sanders (No. 12) is the lead playmaker for Rutgers, tallying 100 assists in 22 games. She also averages 10.6 points and has a team-high 47 steals on the season. Sanders does struggle with ball security, however, being good for 2.72 turnovers per game.


Rebounding. Grabbing boards is one way the Scarlet Knights have been able to separate themselves from opponents. As a team, Rutgers pulls in an average of 40 boards per game, and allows just 35.1 by its opponents. The Terps come into Sunday’s affair averaging 41.4 rebounds per game and will look to use their height advantage to edge out the Scarlet Knights.


Scoring offense. Rutgers struggles to put the ball through the hoop — an area of the game that has not plagued the Terps. The Scarlet Knights average just 68.5 points in the game — good for 111th in the nation — while Maryland scores 81.4 points per contest. If Maryland can get a jump and work an early lead, it may be too much for Rutgers to handle.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland start strong? The Terps really struggled to get going early on against the Hoosiers last time out, and even more-so struggled with a team getting hot early. In Maryland’s last contest, Indiana managed to go on an 11-2 run in the first quarter and took its lead all the way into the third quarter. The Terps will need come out locked in on both sides of the ball so it won’t have to rely on a big run to ignite a victory.

2. Will the bench continue to be a factor? With just nine players available for selection and the postseason around the corner, every player has to be able to be a factor for Frese and her staff. With front court players Shakira Austin and Stephanie Jones starting every game during the team’s win streak, the play of freshmen Diamond Miller and Faith Masonius could be key as Maryland completes its regular season. There is confidence that every player can hold their own on the floor, so the minutes that allow starters to rest and reset could pay off down the stretch.

3. How big of an advantage will size be? Rutgers is a team that his driven by guard play and has benefited from playing some smaller teams. Maryland is one of the few programs that can throw an exclusively six-foot or taller lineup on the floor, so barring foul trouble, the Terps should have a clear advantage. The issue is, however, is whether they use it to their advantage.