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Maryland women's basketball preview: Terps head to Piscataway for Sunday showdown with Rutgers

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The Terps look to win their fourth straight against the Scarlet Knights.

Sammi Silber/Testudo Times

Maryland women’s basketball returns to action at Rutgers on Sunday afternoon. The No. 6 Terps are coming off Wednesday’s home win against Michigan. Maryland has won three straight games after falling to Ohio State on Feb. 8, although the Terps have looked less than stellar in all of those contests.

Standout junior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough was held to a season-low 9 points on Wednesday, and had just 2 at the half. However, she still leads the country with a 57.3 three-point percentage, while center Brionna Jones tops the nation with a 66.9 percent clip from the field. The latter led Maryland with 20 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan.

In the Terps’ way Sunday will be an experienced Rutgers team headed by legendary head coach C. Vivian Stringer. The Scarlet Knights are in the middle of the Big Ten pack this year, but recently went on a three-game winning streak before falling to No. 25 Michigan State, 70-67, on Thursday.

Sunday’s game tips off at 3:00 p.m. EST and will be televised nationally on ESPN2. It can also be streamed via WatchESPN.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-11, 7-8 B1G)

The coach

C. Vivian Stringer is one of the most accomplished women’s basketball coaches ever. A 2009 inductee into the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame, she has 968 wins in 45 years at 3 schools. Stringer is the first coach to take three schools to the Final Four (Cheyney in 1982, Iowa in 1993, and Rutgers in 2000 and 2007). She has led the Scarlet Knights since 1995, reaching the National Title game in 2007.

Players to know

Kahlea Copper, senior, guard, 6’1, No. 2. A versatile offensive threat who racks up 16.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, she’s second on the team in scoring this year and led Rutgers each of the past two seasons. She was a Second Team All-Big Ten selection in 2014-15. Copper is also the team’s best three-point shooter at 37.9 percent.

Tyler Scaife, junior, guard, 5’9, No. 3. Has taken a significant step forward in her junior season, leading the Scarlet Knights with 17.4 points per game. She can score in several different ways, and while she’s not a stellar long-range shooter (32.9 percent from downtown), the guard is very effective from the line (85 percent).

Rachel Hollivay, senior, center, 6’4, No. 1. The scoring distribution drops off significantly after Scaife and Copper, as Hollivay is third on the team with just 7.1 points a night. However, she’s a force inside, averaging 6.4 rebounds and an otherworldly 3.6 blocks.

Briyona Canty, redshirt senior, guard, 5’9, No. 4. The primary point guard puts up 6.1 points, reels in 4.3 rebounds and dishes out a team-high 4.6 assists. She also tops the squad with 47 steals, so Maryland’s point guards will have to be careful.

Strength

Rim protection. Hollivay is the nation’s fourth-best shot blocker, and leads all major-conference players. She has 98 blocks this season; Rutgers’ opponents have just 70.

Weakness

Shooting. The Scarlet Knights aren’t exactly an exciting team to watch on offense: they play at a pretty slow pace and don’t shoot a lot of threes. In Big Ten play, they’ve hoisted up just 12.2 per game and made 32.2 percent of them. They’re also just 67.9 percent at the line, third-worst in the conference.

Prediction

Maryland wins, 74-60.