College Park, MD — The No. 11 Maryland Terrapins held strong to their number one spot in the Big Ten after defeating Rutgers at home on Thursday night, 88-60.
“Our girls came out ready tonight from the start,” stated Maryland’s head Coach Frese in the post-game presser. “Our job defensively on Scaife was amazing. She’s such a talented player and we shut her down, and made it look easy.”
This decisive victory for the Terps was a testament to their hustle on both ends of the court. Maryland battled on the boards, finishing with 46 total rebounds compared to Rutgers 26.
Besides winning the rebounding war, the Terrapins were focused in on eliminating the Scarlet Knights’ tendency to shoot from the outside. Instead, Rutgers was forced to stray away from their strengths and drive more into the paint – becoming a problem for the visitors.
This tight defense by the Terps shut down Rutgers’ leading scorer, Tyler Scaife, who is typically averaging over 20 points a game, but put up just six tonight.
Even though most of the night was a bright spot for the No. 11 team in the nation, Maryland did struggle with taking care of the ball. By the conclusion of the game, the Terps had 18 turnovers while the Scarlet Knights had only committed 11.
Nevertheless, Rutgers struggled to find a rhythm, shooting just under 35% from the field. They showed their deep bench in this game, with all 14 Scarlet Knights seeing time on the court. On the other end, Maryland rotated nine different Terps throughout the game, four of which scored in double digits.
Maryland’s Kaila Charles, who is averaging 17 points a game this season, was named Big Ten player of the week prior to this match-up. She lived up to that title, notching 17 points just in the first half, and finishing the game with 22. She wasn’t focused only on scoring though, as she pulled down six rebounds and dished out five assists.
Eleanna Christinaki also had a big night for the Terps as she did a little bit of everything with 20 points, eight rebounds, one steal, and six assists.
This match-up was Maryland’s Play4Kay game, during which the entire Maryland team, coaching staff and fans dressed in all pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Coach Frese’s message to her players in the pre-game focused on embodying the fight of any family member or friend they know who has been effected by cancer, and channeling that fight in their play on the court.
Her players not only heard her message, they used it as motivation to bring home the 28-point victory in which they never let up despite the big lead.
“Even with a large lead at the end, we don’t get too comfortable,” Charles said. “We stick to Maryland basketball; we play our game.”
This is the first of two meetings for these teams this season, the next coming in 10 days on Feb.11. But before that matchup, Maryland will hit the road to face Nebraska on Sunday (Feb. 4), and Rutgers will also play on Sunday in hopes of snapping its losing streak against No. 13 Michigan.
Posted by Swish Appeal Staff on Thursday, February 1, 2018