Rutgers falls to No. 10 Maryland at RAC
Knights suffer 18-point loss to Terrapins
While a quick glance at the box score from the Rutgers women’s basketball team against No. 10 Maryland suggests disappointment, head coach C. Vivian Stringer was quick to say that there were a lot of positives from her team’s loss yesterday.
“I thought that we played with a great deal of pride and intensity,” she said.
The Scarlet Knights’ (18-9, 6-7) 72-54 home loss to Maryland (22-3, 11-1) was their seventh loss in nine games, and marked the first time that they had a losing record in Big Ten play this season.
But instead of the negatives, Stringer first focused on the positives. She praised certain players for stepping up and playing well, especially compared to previous losses.
“I thought that Vicki (Harris) and Stasha (Carey) made a conscientious effort today,” Stringer said. “We try to go to the inside where our strength is, and I thought that they worked extremely hard to make that happen. I’m normally upset with them, and they would say that, but they did a great job today. They read each other extremely well and did everything they needed to do.”
Junior forwards Victoria Harris and Stasha Carey combined for 19 points yesterday, with Harris’s 13 leading the team. She also collected 11 rebounds, leading to her second career double-double.
“Coach asked me to step up, so I made it my focus to step up today,” Harris said. “It felt good.”
The game itself saw the Terps handle Rutgers for the most part, although the Knights did have some fight at some points. The first quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with Maryland having the upper hand for the most part. Rutgers committed 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes, which the Terps converted into 9 points.
Fifth-year senior guard Kathleen Fitzpatrick ended the quarter with a long 3-pointer that cut Maryland’s lead to 3 points.
The second quarter, on the other hand, belonged to Maryland. The Terps outscored the Knights 21-8, and ended the half with a 16-point lead. They shot more than 50 percent from the field, while Rutgers shot at a 40-percent clip, missing a few wide-open shots.
The Knights did cut the lead to four with 3:43 to go in the half, but Maryland responded with a 13-1 run heading into halftime, establishing control that it would keep in the second half.
“They just capitalized on our turnovers and not rebounding,” Harris said. “That’s what made the lead bigger.”
The third quarter was more of the same, but a late-scoring burst allowed Rutgers to cut into the deficit a bit and make it an 11-point game heading into the fourth quarter.
The Knights managed to make it a 10-point game twice in the fourth quarter, but they were never able to make it a single-digit deficit. The Terps ended the game on an 8-0 run to finish the game with their biggest lead of the afternoon.
Like most other recent losses, multiple players and coaches blamed a lack of focus on the loss. In particular, Carey said that the lack of focus allowed opponents to score more easily.
“We just need to focus more and go hard in practice,” she said. “A lot of teams score off of us not being focused and ready to get back in transition."
Rutgers ended the game with 22 turnovers, the most since its season opener, directly leading to 18 points for Maryland.
“I thought the turnovers were atrocious,” Stringer said. “You can’t have 22 turnovers and win a basketball game. Many of those were, for a lack of a better word, stupid. We were just trying to throw it to people instead of letting (the play develop) and see what was going on.”
The Knights also shot 1-for-12 from the 3-point line, while the Terps made 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Following four straight games against ranked teams, Rutgers gets a breather this week when it plays Wisconsin on Wednesday night.
Despite the lack of focus and a few on-court lapses, there were still things for the Knights to be proud of coming away from this game, especially since it was a lot closer than other recent losses to ranked teams.
“Everybody made a conscious effort to try to play with a level of pride and believed that we could get it done,” Stringer said.
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