Although the Terps defeated Penn State 69-51 in their last game, Maryland did not pull away until late closing the game on an 18-0 run. For the first time this season, the Terps were trailing at the half and used a dominant fourth quarter to propel them to victory.
After shaking off the rust from the holiday break against Penn State, No. 4 Maryland will look to extend their record to 13-0 when they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. With a win, the Terps would have their best start since the 2011-12 season. Both teams are coming off victories in their conference openers over Penn State and Northwestern respectively.
The Scarlet Knights have started the season 8-3 and strong defense has been instrumental to their success this season. In seven of their eight wins, Rutgers has allowed less than 50 points. Playing consistent team defense Rutgers has the best scoring defense in the Big Ten and fifth overall in the country giving up an average of 51.1 points per game.
The Scarlet Knights have a strong post presence, coming in at top ten in blocks per game, not allowing their opponents easy baskets in the paint. Redshirt senior forward Stasha Carey is the Scarlet Knights leader inside, averaging 1.6 blocks per game, making it difficult for opposing post players. Carey is also the Scarlet Knights second leading scorer a key contributor on both ends of the floor.
Facing off against the stout Scarlet Knight defense, the Terps will look to have offensive balance both from their freshman and veteran leaders. The veteran duo of junior forwards Kaila Charles and Stephanie Jones led the Terps against the Lady Lions combining for 40 points. Charles and Jones will look to build off their strong games, however contributions from the freshmen will also be important as well.
With the Scarlet Knights strong post defense, Mikesell, capitalizing on her perimeter opportunities l, will be an important source of offense for Maryland. Entering this game Mikesell is shooting 41.1% from behind the arc, the Terps best perimeter shooter. In addition to her outside shooting, Mikesell has also showcased the ability to take her defenders off the dribble and attack the interior of the opposing defense.
The highly-touted freshman duo of guard Taylor Mikesell and forward Shakira Austin will look to build off their strong start to the season. Austin led the Terps in rebounds against Penn State and will have a tough matchup in the post against Carey. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Austin’s size and length advantage over Carey will be a key matchup in this game. Both Austin and Jones will look to provide second chance opportunities as well as limiting second chance opportunities for the Scarlet Knights.
The Terps will look to extend their conference record to 2-0 with tipoff scheduled for 12:00 p.m. on Monday at the Xfinity Center.