By Brittney Bridges
The Maryland women’s basketball team (22-3, 11-1 Big Ten) took down the Rutgers Scarlet Knights by a final score of 72-54 on Sunday afternoon at Piscataway, New Jersey.
Both teams wore pink sneakers and warmup shirts in honor of cancer awareness for Play4Kay week. This was the second meeting between the Knights and the Terps. Maryland now has its 20th win out of its last 21 games, as the Terps are still in first place in the Big Ten conference.
The Scarlet Knights (18-8, 6-6 Big Ten), have been a team that’s struggled over the past few years despite having veteran coach C. Vivian Stringer; but this season Rutgers stunned many by getting big wins against then-No. 14 Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State. Despite its success, it has lost its five previous games, one including its first matchup against Maryland which ended by a score of 88-60.
It was safe to say, the Terps weren’t as dominant as they were in the first matchup. Both teams struggled offensively and committed their fair share of turnovers. Maryland committed 11 turnovers, which seemed minute in comparison to Rutgers’ season-high 22. It was the natural dominance and toughness that allowed Maryland to stay on top. Maryland led the game by double figures since the two-minute mark in the second quarter. The Terrapins went into halftime with a 43-27 lead.
Junior forward Eleanna Christinaki led the way with 18 points and six rebounds, all while shooting 60 percent from the field. Stephanie Jones and Kristen Confroy contributed, adding 13 and 12 points respectively. Every active player for Maryland scored, including five scoring in double digits. The Terps shot 44 percent from the behind the arc, mostly due to Confroy knocking down three three-pointers earlier in the game.
When Maryland’s offense couldn’t seem to get going, its defense stepped up. The Scarlet Knights tried numerous times to beat the Terrapins on the fast break, but could never get passed the bodies of Maryland to convert. The Terps’ harassing defense also kept Rutgers to make just one three-pointer all game out of its 12 attempts. Rutgers center Victoria Harris led their team in scoring with 13, followed by guard Tyler Scaife who added another 10.
Maryland was also able to run the score up with free throws. Most of Maryland’s pull-up jumpers wouldn’t fall, causing the players to drive to the basket. The Terrapins shot 75 percent from the free throw line after taking 24.
At the 2:30 mark in the fourth quarter, Maryland sealed the deal. Kaila Charles drove to the basket, surrounded by two Rutgers defenders. She jump stopped and hesitated before going back up and getting a high layup off the backboard. Rutgers C. Vivian Stringer believed it was a travel and got a quick technical from the ref, bringing the Maryland lead up to 13 after Rutgers had managed to cut it down.
In the end, the Maryland Terrapins came out victorious once again. With the Big Ten Tournament almost two weeks away, Maryland’s last four regular season games are crucial. Its next game is this Thursday, where it will host Purdue at 6:00 p.m.