Rutgers Women’s Basketball: Scarlet Knights vs. Maryland Terrapins Preview
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have hit a rough patch lately, losing three of their last five including two in a row on the road. Yet the Scarlet Knights find themselves in a position to make a statement when they matchup with 13th ranked Maryland on Sunday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights will make the trip over to College Park to face-off with the Terrapins at the Xfinity Center at 12 noon on Sunday. Rutgers will have its second opportunity against a ranked opponent this season, failing in its first attempt to beat then-No. 12 Indiana at home earlier in the year. It will be the 38th all-time meeting between the two teams, with Maryland leading the series 25-12. The Terrapins also hold a 7-1 record against the Scarlet Knights since they joined the Big Ten. Last season, the teams split their matchups, each winning a game on the road. Rutgers win came against the then fourth-ranked Terrapins, snapping their seven-game winning streak at the time.
Although the two teams are closely matched in several categories, the Terrapins hold the advantage in most aspects of the game. Maryland (19-4) comes into the exhibition with five victories over ranked teams and a better overall record than Rutgers (17-5). The Terrapins are riding an eight-game winning streak. Additionally, the Terrapins hold an advantage over the Scarlet Knights in scoring offense, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, rebounds per game, assists per game, and steals per game. On the other end, the Scarlet Knights hold the advantage in scoring defense, turnovers per game, and blocks per game.
Keys to Victory
Defense: The Scarlet Knights vaunted defense will be put to the test on Sunday afternoon. Rutgers ranks ninth in the nation in scoring defense (54.2 PPGA) and sixth in opponents field goal percentage (.335).
On the other end of the court, the Terrapins own one of the most frightening offenses in the game. Maryland enters the game with the seventh-best scoring offense in the nation, averaging 81.6 points per game. Additionally, the Terrapins possess the 13th best shooting percentage (.464) and the 22nd best three-point field goal percentage (.367) in the nation.
The Scarlet Knights are going to have their hands full with this Terrapins offense. But if Rutgers hopes to come away with a statement win in College Park, it will start on the defensive end.
The Paint: Both teams enter this one with a tendency to dominate their opponent in the paint. The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents in the paint in 20 out of 22 games this year. In those 20 games, the Scarlet Knights have a record of 17-3 when outscoring their opponent in the paint. Additionally, Rutgers has outscored opponents by an average of 15.5 points per game in the paint so far this season.
The Terrapins are no strangers to the paint. Maryland enters the game having outscored opponents in the paint in 20 out of 23 games this season, winning 18. Maryland is only 1-2 this season when outscored in the paint. If the Scarlet Knights want to secure the victory, they may have to out will the Terrapins down low.
Road Warriors: The Scarlet Knights have a solid record away from home so far this season, yet they have struggled recently. The Scarlet Knights hold a 5-3 record on the road this year. The Terrapins hold an outstanding 11-1 record at home so far this season. Victory for Rutgers means breaking their recent road struggles and taking down one of the best home teams in the nation.
Following their matchup with the Terrapins, the Scarlet Knights continue their road journey as they head to East Lansing for a meeting with Michigan State on Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Scarlet Knights hope to add one more victory to their away column by closing out the likes of Marlyand.
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