Maryland women beat Rutgers to rebound from loss to Indiana

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The last time Maryland played, Diamond Miller had to calm down. She was furious after failing to get over a slow start in the No. 9 Terrapins’ narrow loss at Indiana No. 6 — and was still venting after the game.

There was no slow start on Sunday – and no risk of losing. Miller barely played in the fourth quarter as the Terrapins clinched an 80-56 win over Rutgers at the Xfinity Center. Maryland, who led most of the time, improved to 4-0 after a loss.

“[Miller] set the tone for us,” said coach Brenda Frese. “I couldn’t be prouder of the practice she had yesterday to really set the tone with the way she plays today. I thought she just played one of her most complete games on both ends of the floor. She was very upset [after Thursday’s loss at Indiana] and somehow understanding the trust she needs to get with her teammates.

Miller started quickly on Sunday and didn’t let up. She finished with a do-everything stat line of 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, five steals and a block. Maryland (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten) forced 23 turnovers — 17 of them in the first half, which ended with the Terps leading 44-28 — to defeat the Scarlet Knights (8-11, 2-5). .

Rutgers entered the game bottom in the conference with 21.2 turnovers per game. The Terps had defeated the Scarlet Knights 22 times in a 78-67 away win on Jan. 2.

It’s not that complicated: They want to throw it on the red shirts, not the white shirts,” Rutgers coach Coquese Washington quipped.

How bad are things for John Calipari and Kentucky? Pretty bad.

Rutgers once again put up a mighty fight against Maryland’s press defense. It was a challenge just getting the ball across half the court, and the Terps scored 19 points after turnovers. Maryland grabbed 14 steals and attempted 26 more shots.

“I think the pressing gets us going,” said striker Brinae Alexander. “When we sit back from our press, we get a little stagnant — a little lazy to be tough. But I think being in the press gives us momentum.”

Guard Abby Meyers added: “What we learn about ourselves every day is that we can really defend and we get a lot of momentum. That will help us out on track when we play against really good teams and need to make stops.”

On the other hand, Maryland’s offense came fairly easily as Rutgers was often upset. Four players scored in double figures, with Alexander taking the lead with 20 points off the bench. Meyers had 10 points in the first quarter before finishing with 14 points and seven assists. Shyanne Sellers had 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Maryland managed just 11 assists against 16 turnovers in the loss to Indiana that left Miller subdued. That changed Sunday when the Terps had 24 assists against 11 turnovers.

Here’s what else you should know about Maryland’s win:

Alexander hit a three-pointer late in the third quarter to reach 1,000 career points. The freshman Terp joined from Vanderbilt, where she had 841 points over four seasons. After a three-game slump, she got back on track with 15 points in Indiana and rolled on against the Scarlet Knights: Her six three-pointers is the best a Maryland player has done this season.

Players on the bench had begged Alexander to shoot earlier in the game and they erupted when she hit 1,000.

“I would like to thank my teammates for finding me and giving me open eyes,” said Alexander. “…I wasn’t sure if I was missing a point or two. … But the bank was yelling at me, and I was like, ‘Well, I think I’m going to shoot it.’ ”

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Maryland’s freshmen don’t have much time on the ground, but Sunday’s big lead in the first half allowed Frese to gain the freshmen a few minutes. Mila Reynolds and Gia Cooke checked in in the second quarter — much earlier than usual. They played 12 minutes together and scored two points.

“We’re trying to get them there,” Frese said. “At least we had the opportunity to do that and try to recognize it [rest] they and other people get [rest] and see if they can build some trust and what we expect from them. So it was a journey.

“Our freshmen are taking longer than expected. Usually by January…you should be in some kind of rotation and some kind of flow. So we need them. We have high expectations of them.”

Maryland visits Wisconsin on Thursday (6-12, 2-5) before heading to Nebraska (11-7, 3-4) for the showdown next Sunday. That ends the easiest stretch of the Terps on the Big Ten schedule. Maryland will play three ranked teams — No. 17 Michigan, No. 12 Iowa and No. 3 Ohio State — in the following four games.

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