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No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball holds off Rutgers, 91-87, to win Big Ten opener

The No. 14 Maryland women’s basketball team pulled away from host Rutgers in the fourth quarter and hung on in the final seconds Monday to secure a 91-87 victory in its Big Ten Conference opener.

Mimi Collins scored 22 points to lead the Terps (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten), who played for the first time since a 112-78 victory over Towson on Dec. 3. Maryland had games against Coppin State (Dec. 5) and Mount St. Mary’s (Dec. 8) canceled because of COVID-19 concerns within the in-state rivals’ programs.

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In Maryland’s first game without star freshman Angel Reese (St. Frances), who will miss approximately 12 weeks after suffering a right foot fracture against Towson and undergoing surgery, the Terps had five players score in double digits: Collins, Diamond Miller (19 points), Ashley Owusu (15), Chloe Bibby (15) and Katie Benzan (12).

The Terps shot 42.6% from the field and stayed hot from long distance, shooting 42.3% (11-for-26) from 3-point range after setting a program and Big Ten record with 21 made 3′s against Towson. Maryland entered with the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation, averaging 98.2 points per game.

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With the game tied at 68 entering the fourth quarter, Maryland went on a 14-2 run to take an 82-70 lead, its biggest of the game, capped by a 3-pointer from Miller with 5:28 to play. The Scarlet Knights closed the gap to 86-82 with 2:06 left on a 3 by Arella Guirantes, but Ashley Owusu, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, answered with a fast-break layup with 54 seconds left and a free throw with 18 seconds to go to make it 89-82.

Guirantes (game-high 33 points) hit a jumper to cut the lead to 89-84 with eight seconds left. Benzan was called for a foul on the Terps’ next possession, sending Guirantes to the line. The redshirt senior missed the first attempt of a one-and-one, but Rutgers collected the rebound and Liz Martino hit a 3 to make it 89-87 with five seconds left. After a timeout, Channise Lewis (eight points) was fouled by Guirantes and hit both free throws to seal the victory.

Guirantes, the returning Big Ten scoring champion, added 10 rebounds and six assists and was 12 of 23 from the field with eight turnovers for Rutgers (2-1, 1-1). Freshman Diamond Johnson scored a season-high 18 points, Mael Gilles had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Zipporah Broughton scored 10.

JAMES MADISON@NO. 14 MARYLAND

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Saturday, TBD

Video: Big Ten Network Plus

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