Rutgers loses 14-point game to Maryland at home

In its biggest game of the season to date, the Rutgers women's basketball team faltered in a 14-point loss to No. 7 Maryland, Sunday afternoon.

The then-No. 20 Scarlet Knights (17-6, 9-3) trailed 18-4 at the end of the first quarter.  It was a period in which they went 2-12 from the field and had six turnovers. They went nearly 7 minutes without scoring a single point. The team played Penn State  at home almost a week ago, which it had defeated twice this season.

“We blew the first quarter, and that’s the best way to say it,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “I don’t know what it was, it seemed like we didn’t have a sense of urgency, which I find hard to believe.”

The Terrapins (22-2, 11-2) came into Piscataway and rolled to a 62-48 victory.  It was a far cry from the 73-65 victory Rutgers had in College Park, Maryland on New Year's Eve.

The Knights brought the game within 9 points at 25-16, with 5:58 remaining in the second quarter, but that’s the last time the game was within single digits.

Maryland did everything it wanted to do to a tee. It all started with containing fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey in the first half. She went 1-5 from the field, after scoring 18 points on 6-13 from the field the last time the two teams met on Dec. 31. Carey finished with 15 points on 6-13 shooting on Sunday, but a lot of it came with Rutgers already trailing by double digits.

“I thought two things. I thought Stephanie Jones was a big piece to holding Carey to one first half-field goal," said the Terrapins' head coach Brenda Frese. “Defensively, it took them so long to get the ball up the court to be able to run an offense where they just couldn’t punch it into her.”

Jones chipped in on the offensive end as well. She was second on the team with 12 points on 4-7 shooting, and was second on the team with seven rebounds.

Kaila Charles led the way for Maryland with 17 points on 7-10 shooting. The Terrapins' Blair Watson was the team’s third-leading scorer with 9 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. The two made things very hectic for the Knights' guards.  

“We really focused in on having ball pressure, being there and getting over the screens," Charles said.

The starting backcourt of guards, graduate students Charise Wilson, Sierra Calhoun and junior Ciani Cryor, combined for 2 points and went 1-14 from the field.

The Knights' sophomore guard Arella Guirantes was a bright spot for the team, despite the loss. She scored 20 points on 7-13 shooting and made the only 2 of the 16 3-pointers Rutgers attempted.

“For me, it was just making my game more simple, taking what the defense was giving me,” Guirantes said.

The Terrapins led by as many as 22 points, and out-rebounded the Knights 35-24. They shot 53.5 percent while Rutgers shot 34 percent from the field. Not counting Carey and Guirantes, the Knights shot 18.5 percent (5-27). 

Maryland had more turnovers (23) than Rutgers (19), but when a team is outshot as badly as the Knights were, that advantage doesn’t come into play.

Since dropping to No. 23, Rutgers will host Ohio State Thursday night at 7 p.m. inside the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).

For updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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