Rutgers knocks off Golden Gophers at home
The Rutgers women’s basketball team earned a hard fought victory on Saturday at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC), needing overtime to overcome Minnesota's attempt at handing the team its second straight loss. The No. 21 Scarlet Knights moved to 17-3 on the season and 5-1 within the Big Ten Conference.
Naturally, it was a game that leading scorer and fifth-year senior guard Tyler Scaife thrived in, as she was awarded with a commemorative 2,000 point-club ball from Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs and head coach C. Vivian Stringer before the game.
In the game, Scaife led all scorers with 25 points and shot 11-of-25 from the field. One of her made shots came in the form of a behind the back dribble at the foul line, which made her opponent miss, and a floater in the lane, which fell for 2 points shortly after.
Scaife’s teammate, junior forward Stasha Carey, also had a career day by scoring 23 points and hauling in 14 rebounds, while also contributing with three steals and three blocks.
With under 20 seconds to go in the game, the Gophers were down by 3 and had possession of the ball. After a flurry of passes, Carlie Wagner found Destiny Pitts in the corner, who pulled up and nailed the game-tying shot from beyond the arc.
On the ensuing Rutgers possession, the Knights forced the ball into the hands of Scaife, who was met by a double team that forced a turnover. Under 5 seconds to go, Minnesota threw a down-court pass to an open Gopher, who missed the open layup at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.
In overtime, Rutgers started early and often, and eventually outscored Minnesota 12-2 in the five minute extra period. The 12 points scored by the Knights came from Scaife — who scored 7 points on 2-of-4 shooting — and Carey, who scored the remaining 5 points.
The Gophers were led by Pitts and Wagner, each of whom had 22 points in the loss. Combined, the two players shot an impressive 9-of-21 from 3-point range, and the entire team shot 11-of-27 collectively from downtown.
With the win, Stringer is now only six wins away from 1,000 career victories. Rutgers also improved to 12-0 at home this season, as the RAC has given the team a great home-field advantage.
Another key reason the Knights were able to come away with the win was their stifling defense of one of Minnesota’s top scorers, Kenisha Bell. In the game, Bell had only 3 points and shot 1-of-8 from the floor.
Rutgers will go for win number 18 on the season on Thursday night, as it travels to Happy Valley for a showdown against Penn State. Earlier in the season, the Knights beat the Nittany Lions 70-65 at the RAC behind Scaife’s 29-point outburst.
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