Back At The RAC

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Back once again at the State College of New Jersey for another big-time matchup between Top 10 teams, this time for the Jimmy V Classic.

It's the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins who venture north to the Garden State in search of a victory over last year's national runners-up.

Maryland comes in undefeated at 10-0, including big wins over LSU and Oklahoma, and the Terps are hungry to prove they can win on the road.

Rutgers, on the other hand, comes in 4-1, having lost only to then-No. 7 Stanford on their home floor at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights need to prove they can protect their house.

Sorry to sound like an Under Armour commercial there, but the Terps football team is sponsored by the company.

This game couldn't feature two different styles of play. Rutgers uses slow-down tough defense to bore the other team into shooting a horrible percentage, while Maryland runs and guns all over the court.

Which style will prevail?

In my opinion, if Rutgers' Essence Carson is completely healthy, her and the Knights will be able to control junior point guard Kristi Toliver, who has been lights out this year averaging 18.4 points and over eight assists per game.

But it will be up to Kia Vaughn to control Crystal Langhorne, the All-American center for the Terps who is back from injury and is as close as she's been to 100 percent healthy.

Langhorne has the quickest post footwork in the nation and with the Knights concentrating on all the Terps' other weapons, Lang might be able to shake free down low. And if the Knights drop down to cover her, that should leave Toliver open on the wing.

And don't forget about Marissa Coleman and Laura Harper, two other major scoring options for Maryland, who both are averaging in double figures. Oh and freshman guard Marah Strickland is scoring nine a game and shooting 50 percent from long range - as if the Terps needed production from someplace else.

The Scarlet Knights come in ranked No. 5 in the nation, back in the Top 5 after defeating LSU last week, and showcase some excellent point scorers of their own.

Senior guards Matee Ajavon and Carson, along with Vaughn and sophomore Epiphanny Prince can all light it up at any time.

But the Terps are the more consistent option on offense, and taking the LSU game - both teams played the Tigers at home - into consideration, Maryland beat LSU by 13 and scored 75 points in that game. Rutgers only beat the Tigers by two, 45-43.

Now, you can bet that Maryland doesn't score buckets in bunches against Rutgers tonight, but you can also bet they do it better than any team the Knights have faced this year. Should be a good one.

Game Notes:
--Prior to the game, a press conference was held to announce the V Foundation's new women's intiative, the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund to help find an answer for the world's worst disease.

-- Maryland's Crystal Langhorne needs just three rebounds to break Maryland's all-time school record currently held by great Vicki Bullett.

--The Terps are the first team to win 10 games this year, and it is the second year in a row Maryland has started 10-0.

--Junior Maryland guard Kristi Toliver needs 14 points to reach 1,000 for her career.

--In last season's Jimmy V Classic, Rutgers lost to Duke by 40 points, a loss that was later avenged when the Scarlet Knights knocked the Dukies out of the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16. Rutgers will look to fully avenge that loss by winning the Jimmy V Classic this year against the Terps.

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