Maryland women’s basketball continued its recent hot streak, trouncing Rutgers 79-50 for its ninth straight win — and fourth by double digits.
Maryland’s 79-50 win, seemed inevitable from the jump as the defense forced five consecutive turnovers, and jumped out to an early lead. The Terps never looked back. With the win Maryland notched its sixteenth consecutive 20-win season.
Guard Ashley Owusu came off the bench midway through the first and made an immediate impact. The freshman put on a show with a three-point shot and two assists, one to Stephanie Jones for an easy layup and another to Taylor Mikesell for a wide-open three.
“[Owusu] has really separated herself into an elite level category,” said Coach Brenda Frese.
The backcourt combination of Owusu and Mikesell gave Maryland an early offensive spark. Equally competent playing on and off the ball, they formed a potent tandem in the early goings — combining for 12 points and six assists in the first half.
Owusu continued to excel, leading the team with nine assists and 14 points off-the-bench.
“[Owusu] is understanding how she can impact the game for us,” said Frese.
Guard Kaila Charles stated her claim once again as one of the best in the nation. She opened the scoring for Maryland with a transition layup, and continued to impact the game. Although she often deferred to Owusu, she notched 12 points and collected seven rebounds in the first half.
“[Charles] played like the All-American she is, leads us in scoring and on the glass,” said Frese. “We couldn’t do it without her leadership.
Maryland opened the second half with the same kind of defensive intensity that worked so well in the first. Although Rutgers was the first to score, they were limited to only four field goals in the eight minutes. A large factor was Maryland’s 1-2-2 full-court zone press, cutting passing lanes and limiting opportunities.
That defense of Maryland kept Rutgers guard Arella Guirantes, the team’s leading scorer (19.4 points-per-game), in check, limiting her to a mere 15 points, on 30% shooting. Tekia Mack added 13 points and six rebounds, the only other players to reach double-digits for Rutgers.
“We had many more turnovers than assists,” said Coach Stringer. “Sometimes, you run into a buzzsaw; it is as simple as that.”
There was more of the same in the fourth quarter, as Maryland continued to pile on, putting an end to a non-competitive game. Maryland inserted its reserves, outscoring Rutgers 11-7 to close the game with the score 79-50.
“What did they not do?” said Coach Stringer. “They outplayed us in every aspect of the game.”