Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball triumphs in first conference battle against Rutgers, 73-59

By Jack Parry

Faith Masonius was on her knees when the ball went towards her on a missed free throw. She managed to grab the rebound on the floor and dribbled herself out of it, one of many hustle plays that proved to be the difference as the Terps seemed to outwork the Scarlet Knights.

No. 8 Maryland women’s basketball didn’t relinquish the lead all game, and despite some scares from the crafty Shug Dickson, Angel Reese’s 18 points aligned with Katie Benzan’s 15 fueled the away team to a 73-59 victory.

The Terps came out of the gate in New Brunswick, New Jersey on form, with Katie Benzan hitting two quick threes, and Chloe Bibby with a few quick buckets down low.

But the Scarlet Knights had a few good looks in the paint to show that they weren’t going to collapse early, as the Terps stayed up by six midway through the first.

Despite early turnover trouble, Lasha Petree and Dickson managed to knock down a couple of threes to get Rutgers back into a one possession game. 

The rest of the quarter had a lot of back and forth, with good defense on both sides, but a layup by Osh Brown was the last basket of the quarter. This put Rutgers within two points as the game remained a contested battle with Maryland up 18-16. 

To start the second, the Terps woke up with a quick 8-0 run. This was personified by a great defensive possession forcing a miss which was taken by Bibby, proceeded to launch a full court missile to Angel Reese in stride for a nice lefty finish. This prompted a timeout for Rutgers, who needed to recuperate from that quick beating down 26-16.

The Terps also started making their presence known on the defensive end, forcing Rutgers into some contested shots at the end of the shot clock. Chloe Bibby started stepping up, with a steal in the backcourt giving her a wide open escort to a layup. Shortly after, she came up with a big rejection down low on the driving Kiera Sanderlin, giving the freshman a welcome to the Big Ten moment. 

As both sides kept trading baskets, keeping the lead around 10 points through the first, a great second quarter from Maryland was summed up by an insane wraparound pass by Faith Masonius to Angel Reese for an easy layup. 

With less than a minute left in the second quarter the Terrapins began to pull away, and Ashley Owusu had a highlight reel play of the season. In the half court, she decided to get to the cup with a nice spin move leading to a brilliant finish and the foul, capping off her six points in the quarter. 

The Terps locked the Knights to close out the second quarter to finish out a dominant performance in the quarter leading to a 38-23 advantage at halftime. Maryland could have had a greater lead in the second, but they couldn’t capitalize at the line, shooting 4 of 9 from the charity stripe. 

To start the third, Rutgers was able to capitalize off of Maryland misses with some buckets. Shug Dickson led Rutgers with the ball making plays and knocking down a smooth stepback three which cut the Maryland lead to single digits. 

As the Terps saw their lead dwindle with another Shug Dickson three, Maryland started reaping the rewards of their full court press with a couple of steals. They got into the bonus with more than five minutes left in the quarter, as the Scarlet Knights were getting out-hustled early in the second half. 

Just when it looked like the visitors were pulling away, the Scarlet Knights started turning on the pressure showing they wouldn’t back down. After a steal on Katie Benzan, Rutgers ran in transition and found Lasha Petree for the finish and the foul, getting the game back to single digits once again to give star Angel Reese her third foul. 

“I gotta be smarter of course,” Reese said. “I mean Big Ten play starts… I didn’t foul out today, we made it through another game.”

But Rutgers was in far worse foul trouble with a quarter to go, as three of its starting five found themselves with three fouls heading into the fourth. 

Maryland got careless with the ball at the end of the quarter leading to an easy fastbreak layup on the other end, with the Terps committing five of their ten turnovers in the third, as Maryland led 52-44 going into the final period.

To start the fourth, the game became a real back and forth battle with both teams scoring rapidly to start, but the team from New Brunswick had the momentum early on. Dickson had an insane display of ball handling and then a bounce pass to Osh Brown to cut it to four with seven minutes to go.

Although Rutgers displayed a common theme that was seen in the Miami game, no one can seem to contain this Maryland side. As they committed 20 fouls in the game resulting in 13 points off free throws for the Terps.

A big part of the team in the fourth was the work of Sheyenne Sellers. The freshman came into the game and scored four points in four minutes, while also having a clutch steal leading to a shooting foul for Chloe Bibby in transition. A showcase of the trust Brenda Frese has in this promising young guard.

“I thought [Shyanne] grew up as a freshman, made some big plays for us you know down the stretch and in the fourth quarter,” said Frese.

In the final minutes, Rutgers couldn’t execute on possessions, missing eight of their last nine with two minutes left. This negated some sloppy turnovers on the other end of the floor, as the Scarlet Knights couldn’t dig themselves out of their double digit hole.

The Terps secured their conference win on the road 73-59. Getting back to their winning ways, Maryland looks to add to its streak when Frese’s squad takes on Purdue in College Park on Wednesday.

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