Rutgers' road woes continue in defeat at Indiana
The Rutgers women’s basketball team entered Wednesday night’s matchup on the road against Indiana hoping to end a three-game losing streak.
It was going to be a tough task for the Scarlet Knights (12-9, 3-6) to come away victorious in Assembly Hall, where the Hoosiers (13-8, 5-4) had an 8-0 record, making them the only team in the Big Ten to be undefeated at home to this point.
Coupled with the way the Knights have been struggling on the road to begin this season (4-6 entering the game), it had all the makings of a tough matchup.
It proved to be just that.
The Hoosiers came out and controlled the tempo in the first half, riding their home advantage and rolling over Rutgers to a 64-48 win.
Sophomore guard Shrita Parker earned her seventh start of the season for the Knights after scoring a career-high 13 points in last Sunday’s loss against Ohio State, as Rutgers used a smaller lineup than usual.
She assisted senior center Rachel Hollivay to score the first basket of the game to give the Knights a 2-0 lead.
Hollivay continued her quick start by scoring the team’s next basket on a mid-range jump shot.
Both teams largely struggled in the opening quarter, as the Hoosiers finished the period with an 11-8 lead after the teams combined to shoot 7-for-28 from the field.
But the Hoosiers came out with a vengeance to start the second quarter, getting off to a 10-2 run to take a 21-10 lead with 5:42 remaining in the first half.
A three-pointer from Indiana’s Tyra Buss gave her team a 28-11 lead with 2:20 left in the half. Buss would go on to lead all scorers with 24 points on the night.
Parker put an end to the Indiana run with a three-pointer on the other end, but Buss answered with another triple of her own on the next possession.
Rutgers trailed 31-17 heading into halftime.
The Knights struggled to gain momentum offensively, and the Hoosiers capitalized by drawing fouls and making their free throws.
Indiana hit on all 10 of its free throw attempts in the first half, which proved to be crucial as it only shot 8-for-27 from the field.
Meanwhile, Rutgers only made one of its three free throws in the opening half, and did not fare much better from the field, making only seven of their 23 tries.
Rutgers tried to get back in it quickly to start the second half, getting off to a 12-1 run to cut the lead to single digits at 32-29.
They employed a full court press for much of the quarter, which stymied Indiana while giving themselves a spark on offense.
However, the Hoosiers were able to knock down shots to keep themselves ahead, and finished the third quarter still leading 45-38.
Indiana solidified its lead by adding to it in the fourth quarter, getting back into a rhythm and finishing with a 64-48 victory.
Hollivay played a very efficient game for the Knights, as she scored 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field, while also grabbing 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the season.
After moving up to second on the school’s all-time leading shot blocking list, she swatted five more shots this game, giving her 284 for her career. She is now nine blocks away from tying Sue Wicks’s school record of 293 rejections.
Senior wing Kahleah Copper led the Knights in scoring with 16 points, as she and Hollivay were the only Knights to reach double figures.
Aside from one made free throw by redshirt freshman Ashli Jeune with 25 seconds remaining in the game, the only five players to score for Rutgers were their five starters — Hollivay, Copper, Parker, senior guard Briyona Canty and junior guard Tyler Scaife.
On the other side, Indiana had eight different players contribute to their scoring.
In total, the Knights finished 18-for-50 from the field, while Indiana shot 18-for-52.
The difference in the game came from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers made 10 of their 23 attempts, while the Knights hit only two of their eight shots from long range.
Indiana also maintained its advantage from the charity stripe by making 18 of their 20 free throws, while Rutgers made 10 of their 16 attempts.
The Knights will look to end their four-game losing streak and bounce back in Piscataway on Sunday as they square off against Nebraska for the second time this season, hoping to avenge their 65-54 loss to the Cornhuskers earlier in the month.