COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP)After Maryland used its pressing defense to open a big lead, the main question was whether Brinae Alexander would reach the 1,000-point mark for her career.
She did – and then some.
Alexander surpassed that milestone in the second half, and she finished with a team-high 20 points to help the ninth-ranked Terrapins rout Rutgers 80-56 on Sunday. Diamond Miller had 17 points, six rebounds and five steals, and Maryland forced 17 first-half turnovers.
The Terrapins (14-4, 5-2 Big Ten) rebounded from a loss at No. 6 Indiana earlier in the week.
”I thought we got back to who we are on both ends of the floor,” Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. ”Forcing turnovers defensively and then sharing the basketball on the offensive end.”
Abby Meyers had 14 points, three steals and a career-high seven assists for the Terrapins, and Shyanne Sellers contributed 12 points and seven assists.
The Terps beat Rutgers (8-11, 2-5) for the second time in 14 days. The Scarlet Knights turned the ball over 22 times in the first meeting and 23 on Sunday.
”It’s not that complicated,” Rutgers coach Coquese Washington said. ”We want to throw it to the red jerseys and not the white jerseys.”
Meyers scored 10 points during an early 13-0 run that gave Maryland a 15-5 lead. The Terps were up 44-28 at halftime.
Kaylene Smikle scored 21 points for Rutgers and Chyna Cornwell added 15.
Alexander needed nine points in the game to reach 1,000. She had six by halftime, then passed the mark with a 3-pointer from in front of the Maryland bench.
”I didn’t know exactly if I was like one or two points shy,” Alexander said. ”The bench was screaming at me, and I was like, `Well, I guess I’ll shoot it.”’
Alexander went 6 of 8 from 3-point range, and the team finished 10 of 25.
JOINING THE CLUB
Alexander joined Miller, Meyers and Lavender Briggs as current Maryland players who have reached 1,000 points. Elisa Pinzan is 14 short of the milestone after a five-point day.
Meyers (Princeton), Briggs (Florida), Pinzan (South Florida) and Alexander (Vanderbilt) are in their first seasons at Maryland after transferring, but their milestones still mean a lot to Frese.
”It’s really rewarding, because these guys put in a lot of work, and a lot of work behind the scenes and in their college careers,” Frese said. ”So, love seeing that it’s happened here at Maryland for all of them – and very well deserving.”
Rutgers: Turnovers continue to plague the Scarlet Knights, who entered averaging 21.2 per game. Awa Sidibe had seven. The Scarlet Knights did hold Maryland to 41% shooting but shot only 32% from the field themselves. Rutgers had only six turnovers in the second half even though the Terps did keep pressing.
”In the second half we were a lot better handling it,” Washington said. ”Just got to start off the game with a little better execution.”
Maryland: The Terps’ ability to push the pace was exactly what was needed against a Rutgers team that doesn’t take good care of the ball, and Miller and Meyers showed the many ways they can contribute at both ends of the court.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights host Michigan on Thursday night.
Maryland: The Terps play at Wisconsin on Thursday night.
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AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25