Mincy leads No. 8 Maryland to 71-59 win over No. 24 Rutgers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Laurin Mincy had a successful homecoming to help Maryland stay unbeaten in the Big Ten.
Mincy scored a season-high 24 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists as the No. 8 Terrapins beat 24th-ranked Rutgers 71-59 on Thursday night. It was the eighth straight win for the Terrapins (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten).
Mincy grew up about 20 minutes from Rutgers and was playing her first collegiate game in her home state.
''It felt really good obviously coming in here and having my family and friends here,'' Mincy said. ''I knew my teammates would fight for me tonight, luckily we came out with the win.''
The fifth-year senior tore her ACL her junior season or else she wouldn't even had a chance to play in New Jersey.
''I wasn't expecting to play here when I committed to Maryland,'' Mincy said.
The win was the third straight on the road in the conference for Maryland against a Top 25 team. The Terrapins also beat No. 17 Nebraska and 23rd-ranked Minnesota. The Terrapins looked like they were going to cruise to another easy win as they built an 18-point lead in the first half before Rutgers rallied to tie it.
With Maryland leading 50-48, the Terrapins scored 16 of the next 20 points to take control of the game. Mincy had six points during the spurt. Her layup made it 60-50 with 8:38 left. Rutgers couldn't get within nine the rest of the way.
''This game was a battle, extremely physical,'' said Maryland coach Brenda Frese. ''Two aggressive teams that had to battle back and forth. I love that we could keep our poise and composure and extend our lead to help us through a lot of adversity and foul trouble.''
Kahleah Copper scored 16 to lead the Scarlet Knights (12-5, 3-3).
This is the first meeting between the two newcomers to the Big Ten. The two women's basketball powers rarely have played recently with the last matchup coming on Feb. 15, 2009. Maryland won 67-47.
Maryland jumped out quickly on Rutgers, scoring the first 10 points. Rutgers got on the board and trailed 11-5 before the Terrapins went on a 14-2 run to open up a 25-7 advantage. Mincy and Lexie Brown hit back-to-back 3s to cap the burst.
Rutgers trailed 37-24 with 5:40 left in the half before going on a 12-3 run to close to 40-36 at the break.
''If we could have gotten the lead it would have given us more momentum,'' Betnijah Laney said of Rutgers failing to ever go ahead on the Terrapins.
Maryland: While these two teams have played 32 times in their history, this was only the third meeting since Brenda Frese took over as head coach of the Terrapins in 2002.
Rutgers: Coach C. Vivian Stringer is four wins short of matching Penn State's Rene Portland for Big Ten victories. Stringer won 169 when she coached Iowa and has three with Rutgers. ... Briyona Canty saw her first action since being sidelined with a bone bruise in her right knee against Indiana on Dec. 28. She finished with eight points.
During Maryland's game-changing run in the second half, both teams got a little bit chippy. Canty was called for a flagrant foul and on the next possession and Mincy was called for an intentional foul for wrapping up Copper on the break. The officials quickly settled things down and there were no flare-ups the rest of the game.
CHAIRWOMAN OF THE BOARDS
Brionna Jones had 12 points and 14 rebounds for Maryland. The sophomore finished three short of her career-high for rebounds set earlier this month against Purdue when she fouled out with just over a minute left.
Maryland: Hosts Illinois on Sunday
Rutgers: Visits Wisconsin on Sunday