Rutgers Defense Dominates Terrapins In Second Half As Maryland Falls 68-60
#20 Kristi Toliver becomes the 3rd Terrapin player this season to eclipse the 1,000 point mark with her 3 point shot with 1:33 remaining in the game to make it a 61-57 Rutgers lead. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box File Photo
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The Maryland Terrapins Women's Basketball team suffered their first loss of the season this evening at the hands of the #5 ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.  Maryland entered the contest with a 10-0 record and was up by a solid 10 points at half time, but exceptional defense by the Scarlet Knights in the second half held the Terrapins practically scoreless inside the paint.

The Terps and Scarlet Knights battled fairly evenly in the early going, with both teams trading jumpshots all the way up through the 12th minute.  Knotted at 14-14 with just under 9 minutes to play the Terps hit a jumpshot from the right hand side.  Rutgers responded with a jumpshot from outside the paint to tie the game at 16-16.  Perry then stepped with the ball near the free throw line.  She faked left, went right, and sunk the shot to give the Terps an 18-16 lead.

With 7 minutes remaining in the first half Maryland shot 8-21 field goals to Rutger's 8-22. 

With 4:20 remaining the Terps and Scarlet Knights were tied at 20 a piece when Kristi Toliver hit a 3 pointer to make it 23-20 Maryland. Toliver is 54% from 3 point range this season, and her bucket sparked a 10-0 run by Maryland that ended with a Rutgers field goal with 2:35 remaining in the first half.

The Terps went on to finish out the half on a strong note by extending their run to 11-2 in the final 2 minutes to go into halftime up by a confident 33-23 on a foreign court.
 
Maryland's offense scored 14 points from inside the paint in the first half while Rutgers only managed to connect on 2 points from close range.  Both teams struggled from beyond the arc as Maryland went 1-7 and Rutgers went 1-6. 

Rutgers came out of the halftime break on fire, getting on the board with 2 quick jumpshots to cut the lead to 6.  Marah Strickland responded for Maryland by successfully hitting a 3 pointer from the right hand baseline with 17:03 remaining in the 2nd to re-establish a Terrapin 9 point lead.

Rutger's surge started off a turnover by Laura Harper on the left hand post position.  The Terrapins were caught off guard and Epiphany Prince dribbled the ball up court.  Toliver was back deep for the Terrapins and stood up for the charge, but Prince dished to her left to find Matee Ajavon who hit the layup.  The Terps lead was cut to 36-29 and the momentum started to shift to favor the Scarlet Knights.

With 16:06 Kia Vaughn was sent to the bench with 4 personal fouls, and Rutgers rallied.  With Vaughn cheering the team from the sideline the Scarlet Knights went on a 9-1 run to bring Rutgers to within 2 points at 42-40 and 9:11 remaining in the game.  Maryland's head coach Brenda Frese called a timeout to regroup, but the plan conceived in the Maryland huddle never had a chance as Crystal Langhorne turned the ball over after the timeout.  It was the 16th turnover for the Terps.

With Vaughn on the bench Rutgers went 11-6 while Maryland went 0-5 for field goals and offered 4 turnovers on the last 9 possessions. 

The lead changed with 7:34 remaining when Epiphany Prince found her sweet spot from beyond the arc.  Her 3 pointer put Rutgers up 46-45, and it was her 6th field goal of the evening.

The defensive performance by Rutgers held Maryland scoreless from inside the paint in the second half with under 4 minutes remaining in the game.  The Terps also struggled on the perimeter while Rutgers altered their defense between zone and man to man.  Maryland struggled to find baskets in the second half, only notching 3 of 15 shots in 17 minutes of play.

The Terps had a chance to pull it out down the stretch when Kristi Toliver hit a deep 3 pointer from the right hand side that put Maryland within 2 at 53-55.  However, Rutger's defense proved too much for the fatigued Terrapins.  Maryland has played 11 games in 24 days, including 4 tournament style contests.

Maryland returns home to College Park this evening and will be on the practice court tomorrow to prepare for Middle Tennessee State.  The 2006-2007 Sun Belt Conference Champion Blue Raiders travel to College Park on Wednesday to face the Terrapins at 7pm in the Comcast Center.