The Rutgers women's basketball team will head into a new week with its head held high after earning its first win since Dec. 5, 2023, and snapping a 12-game losing streak. The Scarlet Knights (7-17, 1-10) now seek wins against Maryland and Michigan.
"Certainly, the win is awesome, and it was a great sense of accomplishment going into that locker room after the game, but we try to focus on how we did that, what are the lessons and things that we can take from that moving forward so we can build off of it, for sure," head coach Coquese Washington said.
Washington hopes that the team can exhibit the same trust and comfortability against the Terrapins (12-10, 4-7) at home on Tuesday.
While Rutgers is coming into the contest on a high, Maryland is currently trying to end a 4-game losing streak that includes losses to ranked opponents Iowa and Indiana as well as a close overtime loss to the Wolverines (15-8, 6-5).
Despite their recent struggles, the Terrapins still average a fair amount of points on the year. They stand at the fifth spot in the Big Ten in points per game (PPG) with 80.3.
The team's vulnerability on defense has hurt Maryland, as they allow the second most points to opponents throughout the conference with 76 PPG given up. The Knights come in one spot ahead of the Terrapins in that category, conceding 71.9 PPG.
Maryland has three main scorers to watch — Shyanne Sellers, Jakia Brown-Turner and Bri McDaniel. Sellers averages a team-high 15.3 PPG while corralling a team-leading 5.7 rebounds per game (RPG). Sellers serves as a playmaker as well for the Terrapins, with a team-high 113 total assists.
"(The Terrapins) want to score a lot of points," Washington said. "So we gotta make sure we get back and try to make them score against our half-court (defense) and not let them get going in transition. I think Shyanne Sellers, whether she's got two legs, one leg, one-and-a-half legs, she's a handful. She's one of the best players in this conference, and so we got to try to limit her as much as we can."
Brown-Turner and McDaniel both average 13.2 PPG. The former is much more of a rebounding threat, while the latter is a threat beyond the three-point line.
Both Maryland and Rutgers have good rebounders on their rosters, signaling that whoever is more physical on both the offensive and defensive glass could have the advantage.
The Knights are much more familiar with Michigan, whom they competed against and lost to 56-50 at home on January 21, and now seek revenge on the road at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this weekend.
In the first contest, Laila Phelia starred with 25 points and six rebounds. Phelia leads her team with 16.3 PPG, which slots her in at seventh across the conference. Rutgers will also need to keep an eye on Lauren Hansen, who averages 11.6 PPG and is lethal from three.
While the Wolverines are in the bottom half of the conference in PPG, their defense has been stout, as they keep opponents to a conference-low 61.3 PPG.
The Knights will take on the Terrapins on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. at Jersey Mike's Arena on Livingston campus and then will travel to face Michigan on Saturday at 2 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Big Ten Network, as well as on 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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