PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)Angel Reese scored 18 points to lead No. 8 Maryland over Rutgers 74-59 on Sunday.
Katie Benzan added 15 points, Chloe Bibby had 14 and Ashley Owusu 12 for Maryland (7-2, 1-0 Big Ten).
”We’re excited to get our first win in conference,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ”We were fortunate to be able to come out with a win.”
Whereas the Terrapins may have gotten back on track, Rutgers (4-6, 0-1) dropped its fifth straight. But acting head coach Timothy Eatman believes his team is improving.
”(I) am so excited about where we’re going,” Eatman said. ”We (have) to continue to take steps forward. … We’re excited about what this team can be.”
Shug Dickson scored 18 points for Rutgers (4-6, 0-1). Lasha Petree had 11 and Tyia Singleton and Osh Brown each each had 10.
Brown’s layup midway through the fourth quarter brought Rutgers within 56-52. The Terrapins scored the next seven points to stay in control.
”We made some big plays,” Frese said.
Sayawni Lassiter responded with a straightaway 3 for Rutgers, but Maryland managed the clock in the final four minutes. The Terrapins began to methodically bring the ball up the court, forcing the Scarlet Knights into fouling.
Mimi Collins, Reese, and Benzan each made two free throws in the final 3:47. Maryland made 20 of 27 free throw while Rutgers only went to the line 11 times.
”I love the fact we got to the free throw line 27 times,” Frese said.
While crediting Maryland for finishing the game, Eatman noted the Terrapins were aided in their cause by the Scarlet Knights’ inability to make plays in the final minutes.
”(It) comes down to us not being able to execute when we need to,” Eatman said. ”And then when you’re not able to get to the shot that you want to get to then Maryland’s experience and talent steps up to the plate.”
The Terrapins led 38-23 at the end of a first half in which they never trailed. Bibby opened the game with a layup 13 seconds into the first quarter, and Maryland extended its lead 26-16 on Reese’s layup two minutes into the second quarter.
Maryland: The first of two regular-season matchups between the teams revealed the difference between an experienced group and an unexperienced one. Maryland entered the 2021-22 season by returning all five starters from 2020-21 and 10 players overall. The Terrapins did not panic when Rutgers outscored them 21-14 in the third quarter and cut Maryland’s lead to 52-44.
Rutgers: The 2021-22 Scarlet Knights are likely going to be a season-long work in progress. That is what happens when seven players transfer into the program and Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer extends a leave of absence due to COVID-19 precautions. So there will be growing pains as the current iteration of the Scarlet Knights learn how to play together. Such as Sunday in which Rutgers committed 19 turnovers. ”We know to beat a team like Maryland you have to play your `A’ game,” Eatman said. ”Can’t bring `B’ into the action. It’s got to be your `A’ game to have a chance. And today I thought we played our `B’ game.”
Maryland: Hosts Purdue on Wednesday.
Rutgers: Travels to Penn State on Thursday.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25