Rutgers looks for road win at Wisconsin
Knights hope to gain momentum with tournament looming
On Wednesday, the Rutgers women’s basketball team will travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin.
The Scarlet Knights come into this road battle 18-9 on the season and 6-7 in conference play. On the other hand, the Badgers are one of the Big Ten’s worst teams, holding a 9-17 overall record and a mere 2-11 mark in Big Ten games.
Rutgers is just 2-6 over the last month, but during that time frame it has played four ranked teams — all in the Big Ten. This will be its first game against an unranked opponent since Feb. 1.
Wisconsin has beaten two Big Ten teams, Northwestern and Illinois. While the Knights have yet to play Northwestern, they handed Illinois a 76-37 beatdown earlier this season at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). Wisconsin beat Illinois in a tighter game, 70-61.
Fifth-year senior Tyler Scaife continues to shoulder the load for Rutgers, averaging 19.2 points per game. The next highest scorer on the roster is junior forward Stasha Carey, who comes in averaging just 7.3 points per game.
The Badgers have four players averaging more than 9 points per game, and two players who average double figures in points. Cayla McMorris averages 13.6 points per game, while also grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game, and teammate Marsha Howard averages 11.9 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Wisconsin also has an outside shooting threat in Suzanne Gilreath, who averages 9.3 points per game, while shooting 36.2 percent from beyond the arc. She’s not afraid to let it fly from 3-point land, as she has attempted 174 3-pointers thus far.
Comparably, the Knight with the most attempted 3-pointers comes from sophomore guard Ciani Cryor, who has shot 86 on the year.
Last season, when Rutgers was 6-24 on the year and 3-12 in Big Ten games, it played Wisconsin three times and lost the series 1-2.
In the first game it squared off against the Badgers, it won 68-52 in Piscataway.
But, the next two games against Wisconsin were losses, as it dropped a game in Madison 53-41, and then later in the season during the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, 61-55.
That last game was the Knights' last game of the season, as they were bounced out of the Big Ten tournament in the first round.
With just three games remaining on the season before the Big Ten Tournament, it is clear that Rutgers needs to finish strong and win out to gain momentum heading into the tournament, which is again in Indianapolis.
This team is way better than it was last season, so it is fully expected that the Knights can march into Madison and leave with a statement win.
Look for Scaife to shoulder the load as usual, and if she gets going early on in the game, look for Rutgers to run away with it. As long as it can defend the 3-ball and use its bigs to secure rebounds, this should be an easy victory for the Knights on the road.
Rutgers finishes its season at home against Iowa for Senior Night and then on the road at Northwestern before hitting the road again for the Big Ten Tournament.
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