Maryland Women’s Hoops Topple Rutgers, 78-67

PISCATAWAY, N.J – Maryland wasted little time in setting the tone on the way to an impressive 78-67 win over Rutgers on Jan. 2 in Big Ten women’s basketball action at Jersey Mike’s Arena.

Maryland, ranked No. 16 in the latest Associated Press poll, improved to 12-3 with the win and are now 3-1 in Big Ten play. After losing to Nebraska 90-67 in their conference opener, the Terrapins have won three straight games, including a 107-85 trouncing at home against Minnesota prior to traveling to Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights, meanwhile, dropped to 6-10 on the year and are winless in conference play at 0-4. 

Abby Meyers found herself alone in the left corner off the opening tip and drained a 3-pointer to give Maryland a quick 3-0 lead just 16 seconds into the contest. She added a second 3-pointer just over a minute later to extend the lead to 6-0.

Maryland would never trail in the game and the Scarlet Knights never managed to tie the game after Meyers’ hot hand gave the Terps the early advantage.

Rutgers, which turned the ball over on each of its first four possessions, managed to close the gap to 6-3 on a 3-pointer from freshman sensation Kaylene Smikle with 7:33 remaining in the opening period.

Maryland would use an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to extend its lead to 14-3 on a field goal from Shyanne Sellers at the 5:13 mark of the period. The Terrapins controlled the rest of the opening period and held a commanding 24-9 lead after the first 10 minutes of the game.

A 3-pointer from Bri McDaniel with 3:37 remaining in the first half extended the Maryland margin to 38-23.

That was when the Scarlet Knights went on a run of its own. Rutgers scored 10 of the final 12 points of the half to pull to within 40-33 at the intermission. 

The second half saw Maryland outscore the Scarlet Knights 27-11 in the third quarter to seemingly put the game out of reach with a 67-43 heading into the final period of play. A quick field goal to start the fourth period pushed the lead to 26 points, the largest of the game, as the Terps were in control 69-43.

Rutgers managed to outscore Maryland 23-11, including all 12 of the game’s final points to make the score respectable.

Meyers led four Maryland players in double digits in scoring. The six-foot, senior guard, who previously played at Princeton before transferring to play with the Terps, finished with 22 points in the game. She connected on seven of 15 shots from the floor, including four of seven from 3-point range, and made all four of her free throw attempts in the contest. 

Diamond Miller also finished in double figures with 15 points, as did Sellers and Lavender Briggs, who chipped in with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Terrapins.

The loss by Rutgers spoiled a career-day for Smikle, who set a new career-high with 29 points to lead all scorers. The talented newcomer made 11 of 21 shots from the floor, including four of her eight shots from behind the arc, and added three of four from the foul line. She also added a career-best nine rebounds, which was one of the bright spots for the Scarlet Knights. 

Rutgers outrebounded Maryland 39-33 in the game.

Dmiklr has now reached double figures in scoring in 12 games this season. She is averaging 23 points per game over the last four games for the Scarlet Knights.

Kassondra Brown added 12 points for the Scarlet Knights and was the only other player to reach double figures. Chyna Cornwell grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for Rutgers. Briggs paced Maryland with eight caroms.

Maryland returns to action Jan. 7 when the Terps play host to Michigan State and travels to Indiana for a Jan. 12 encounter before playing host to Rutgers on Jan. 15.

Rutgers, meanwhile, plays Nebraska on Jan. 7 at Jersey Mike’s Arena and is at Minnesota on Jan. 12.