No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball secures 91-87 win over Rutgers in Big Ten Opener

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

With 1:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, Rutgers (2-1, 0-1 B1G) had the ball trailing by four. A Scarlet Knights guard tried to deliver a pass to the wing, but Maryland (4-1, 1-0 B1G) senior Chloe Bibby jumped in the passing lane to intercept the pass and was fouled as she took off down the court. 

The senior forward came up huge all game in the Terps 91-87 victory over Rutgers. Bibby recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. However, Bibby wasn’t the only Terp that made their presence felt inside. 

Mimi Collins, who came off the bench, scored a team-high and career-high 22 points while shooting 61% from the field. Collins also connected on both of her attempts from behind the arc. 

This was the Terps first game without freshman forward Angel Reese, who fractured her right foot against Towson and is expected to miss 12 weeks, according to Maryland Athletics. Reese was a key contributor in the scoring department and on the glass. Collins, a sophomore, stepped up in Reese’s absence and showed what she is capable of in extended minutes. 

“I thought her play tonight was sensational and this is where we need Mimi to play,” Head Coach Brenda Frese said. “This is the x-factor she can bring to the table when she’s locked in.”  

It was a complete team effort from Maryland as five players reached double-digit points, including Katie Benzan who scored a career-high 12 points while shooting 50% from three-point range. 

After an 11-day layoff, Maryland struggled to shoot the ball in the first half. Frese’s squad shot just 30% in the opening 20 minutes coming off a performance against Towson where they hit 67% of their attempts from deep. 

However, the Terps shook off the rust in the second half and began to get hot from three. Maryland shot 62% from behind the arc in the second half against the Scarlet Knights. That ability to heat up at any moment is something Frese recognizes is special with this team. 

“That’s why we’re never out of the game when you talk about how well we can shoot the basketball, collectively, you know when we catch fire and that rhythm really works well for us,” Frese said. 

Rutgers applied full court pressure on the Terps all game, which could have contributed to their poor shooting performance to start. Although, Maryland came back with a press of their own to speed up Rutgers.  

At the end of the third quarter, the game was tied at 68. Maryland exploded on a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter, ignited by high intensity defense, which forced turnovers that led to easy baskets for the Terps. Down the stretch, the standout sophomore guard duo of Diamond Miller and Ashley Owusu took over to secure the Maryland victory. Miller finished with 19 points, while Owusu finished with 15. 

The Terps will now return to College Park to take on James Madison in a replacement game on Saturday Dec. 19 at the XFINITY Center.