Mary­land puts away Rut­gers to cush­ion its lead in Big Ten

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY DOUG FEIN­BERG

PIS­CAT­AWAY, N.J. | A dom­i­nant first quar­ter helped Mary­land put away Rut­gers and take com­mand of the Big Ten.

Kaila Charles scored 17 points and the No. 10 Ter­rap­ins ex­tended their lead in the con­fer­ence with a 62-48 vic­tory over 20th-ranked Rut­gers on Sun­day. The Ter­rap­ins (22-2, 11-2), who have won seven straight, own a 1 1⁄2-game ad­van­tage over the Scar­let Knights.

While coach Brenda Frese was happy to have a cush­ion atop the stand­ings, she knows there’s still a long way to go.

“If we don’t take care of busi­ness in the next game (against) Ne­braska, you nar­row the gap,” Frese said. “We are in con­trol of get­ting bet­ter and con­trol­ling what we can con­trol. There’s no easy games re­main­ing for us.”

Mary­land scored the first seven points of the game and didn’t look back as Rut­gers missed 10 of its first 11 shots. The Ter­rap­ins were up 18-4 af­ter one quar­ter. The Scar­let Knights had more turnovers (six) and fouls (seven) than bas­kets (two) in the open­ing 10 min­utes.

“We punched first and never looked back,” Frese said. “We stayed con­sis­tent through­out the en­tire game.”

Rut­gers coach C. Vi­vian Stringer agreed with Frese’s assessment.

“We blew the first quar­ter and that’s the best way to say it,” the Hall of Famer said. “We didn’t have a sense of ur­gency, which I found hard to be­lieve. We were not run­ning the cuts as hard. Mary­land showed up big time. They wanted to avenge the loss that they had. We didn’t step to it and match their in­ten­sity the way we had to with a team of that mag­ni­tude.”

The Scar­let Knights (17-6, 9-3) got go­ing of­fen­sively in the sec­ond quar­ter thanks to a some­what ef­fec­tive press. They cut into the lead, but couldn’t get closer than eight and trailed 34-21 at the half.

Mary­land put the game away in the third quar­ter, aveng­ing its first loss of the sea­son on Dec. 31 to the Scar­let Knights.

“I think ob­vi­ously this is a great win, spe­cial win for us,” Frese said. “I know how dif­fi­cult a place it is to come into . ... It speaks vol­umes to the growth of our team since Dec. 31. We took that game to heart. You see where the growth of our team is.”

Arella Guirantes scored 20 points to lead Rut­gers, which has lost two straight and dropped its first game at home this sea­son.

Mary­land shot 54 per­cent from the field (23 for 43) whereas Rut­gers was a woe­ful 18 for 53 (34 per­cent), in­clud­ing go­ing 2 for 16 from be­hind the 3-point line. The Scar­let Knights fin­ished with 19 turnovers and 20 fouls. Mary­land also won the re­bound­ing battle 35-24.

Mary­land has a chance to move up a spot or two in the AP Top 25 af­ter losses by Ore­gon State and N.C. State this week.

Mary­land next hosts Ne­braska on Thurs­day.

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