No. 4 Maryland upset by Rutgers to close out year, 73-65

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Women’s Basketball/Twitter)

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Women’s Basketball/Twitter)

The fourth-ranked University of Maryland women’s basketball team lost at home Monday afternoon to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 73-65.

Freshman guard Taylor Mikesell finished with a team-high 18 points, and junior guard Kaila Charles recorded 15 points and six rebounds.

The Terrapins (12-1, 1-1) continued the trend of starting slowly at the beginning of quarters and were not able to finish as strong as they have in previous games. Maryland coach Brenda Frese credited Rutgers’ physicality as a reason for the Terrapins’ struggles.

“They were more physical than us,” Frese said. “They never let up defensively. I thought they made us expose some of our shot selection instead of driving the basketball and being aggressive.”

The Scarlet Knights (9-3, 2-0) attacked the Terps with a high-powered offense, led by guard Ciani Cryor, who almost recorded a triple-double with 12 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds.

The Terrapins went into the locker room trailing the Scarlet Knights, 41-36. Maryland shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, but Rutgers had nine offensive boards. Maryland also committed seven turnovers, to the Scarlet Knights' three.

It was not until the end of the third quarter that the Terrapins were able to close the gap and tie the game at 47. But Rutgers pulled away in the fourth and was able to hit key free throws late in the game to finish the upset bid.

“We felt that we could establish ourselves to the paint and we have people who can shoot threes,” said Rutgers coach Charlaine Vivian Stringer. “We just tend to be aggressive ... that is the one thing we can count on.”

Said Frese: “[Rutgers] came out, they shot the ball really well to start the game, they beat us in the paint, the beat us on the glass, and on turnovers. We have to give credit to them. Their game plan against us was very scout-specific and I credit them. They earned a great win.”

The Terrapins continue their Big Ten schedule against Ohio State. The Terrapins will host the Buckeyes at the Xfinity Center on Jan. 5. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.