March 19, 2018 | ° F

Rutgers looks to stay hot vs. in-state rival Princeton

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

The Rutgers women’s basketball team is looking to notch its sixth straight win and will host its third straight in-state team on Wednesday as it prepares for a game against Princeton (6-2). 

Rutgers is coming off a dominant performance against Fairleigh Dickinson, a game in which it won 101-35. Tyler Scaife continued to impress for the Scarlet Knights (10-2), scoring 25 points on 10 of 16 shooting. 

Three other Rutgers players scored in double figures, including Ciani Cryor who had 15, Jaz Rollins who added 10 and Caitlin Jenkins who had a double-double scoring 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

Princeton, who has won three in a row, is coming off a 60-46 win over Quinnipiac on Saturday. The Tigers are lead by Bella Alarie, who averages 17.0 points per game and is shooting a red hot 49.0% from the field. She can also contribute beyond the arc, shooting a highly impressive 52.6% from three-point land. Alarie also averages 10.4 rebounds per game, making her a double-double threat every night she plays. 

Princeton also has two other players averaging in double figures in Leslie Robinson who averages 10.8 points per game, and Carlie Littlefield who averages an even 10.0 points per contest for the Tigers. 

The Knights and Princeton share one common opponent so far this season, and that is Seton Hall. The Tigers beat the Pirates 85-83  back in November, while Rutgers took down Seton Hall 70-45 last Friday. 

Princeton is 4-0 in road games, while the Knights are a perfect 6-0 in home games at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Rutgers will look to keep that perfect record intact on Wednesday while delivering the Tigers their first road loss of the season. 

There are many stat categories in which the Knights lead Princeton in on the season, which should work heavily towards Rutgers’ advantage. For example, the Tigers are averaging +6.8 scoring margin per game while the Knights are outscoring opponents by +15.0 points per game. 

Rutgers leads Princeton in rebounds per game, field goal percentage, turnovers and steals per game. Conversely, the Tigers lead the Knights in three-point field goal percentage, free throw shooting percentage and assists per game. 

If one player is going to be a problem for Rutgers, it is Alarie. At Six-foot-four, the sophomore forward out of Bethesda, Maryland is taller than any other player on the Rutgers roster. Look for head coach C. Vivian Stringer to match up Caitlin Jenkins on Alarie, as Jenkins leads Rutgers in blocks with 19 and rebounds per game at 7.5. 

In order for the Knights to pull away in this one, they are going to need to rely heavily as usual on star guard Tyler Scaife, who comes into the contest averaging 20.8 points per game. Although Princeton has seen solid guard play out of freshman Littlefield, Scaife should take advantage of the Littlefield’s inexperience and continue to be a dominant scorer. 

After the Tigers, Rutgers will host Houston (8-2) on Saturday at the RAC, and that game will mark the team's last non-conference game of the season before the Big Ten gauntlet, which begins on Dec. 28 against Purdue. 

If the Knights close out these next two non-conference opponents at home and improve to 12-2 before conference play, things will be looking bright for Stringer’s team, who was just 3-12 in Big Ten games last season. 

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

Matthew Howe

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