July 18, 2019 | 74° F

Rutgers goes 1-2 over weekend Gulf Coast Showcase


Over the weekend, the Rutgers women’s basketball team competed in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida with seven other teams. 

The Scarlet Knights (5-2, 0-0) went 1-2 in the tournament, with losses to No. 3 South Carolina as well as Washington State and a win against Western Michigan. 

Rutgers opened the tournament on Friday with a game against the Gamecocks, who are coming off of its NCAA Championship last season. The Knights eventually lost 78-68 in what was a fairly close contest throughout.

Fifth-year senior Tyler Scaife led the way in scoring for Rutgers, posting 20 points on 9-21 shooting in 32 minutes played. Freshman forward/guard Tekia Mack also contributed 13 points and four steals in the loss. 

South Carolina had an exceptional performance from A’ja Wilson, who scored 33 points on 9-15 shooting, while also having five blocks. Lindsey Spann also added 17 points for the Gamecocks on 6-10 shooting. 

In game two of the showcase, the Knights faced off against Western Michigan. During the game, Scaife yet again led the way for Rutgers, dropping 29 points en route to a 75-64 victory. Junior forward Caitlyn Jenkins also had a double-double in the game, adding 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Knights. 

The Broncos were led by Breanna Mobley, who scored 26 points, while also hauling in 12 rebounds. Rutgers forced 25 turnovers and converted that into an additional 19 points. The Knights bench outscored Western Michigan 40-7, which has been a theme in almost every game this season.

In the final game of the tournament, Rutgers dropped a tough contest to Washington State, 63-60. It was a game the Knights should have won, leading by 14 points in the second quarter and 40-30 at the half. 

Trailing by one point with 9 seconds remaining on the clock, Scaife drove to the lane and was called for a charge. After Rutgers fouled and the Cougars made both free throws, the Knights got the ball back with six seconds remaining. Sophomore guard Ciani Cryor took a last second three-point shot that fell short at the buzzer. 

In the game, Rutgers had three players in double figures, Scaife with 12, junior forward Stasha Carey and Jenkins with 10 points. Washington State had four players who scored 10 or more points and was led by Borislava Hristova, who had 17. 

The Knights forced 22 turnovers in the game, the fourth time this season that Rutgers has caused its opponent to turn the ball over 20 or more times. It is clear that head coach C. Vivian Stringer's famous "55" press defense is back and  arguably better than ever. 

The Knights return to the Rutgers Athletic Center on Thursday for a tilt against North Carolina State (6-1). The game will be the first of an eight game homestand for Rutgers as it looks to improve its record heading into Big Ten  play, which begins on Dec. 28 against Purdue. 

For updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

Matthew Howe

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