Rutgers downs Wisconsin for 12th win of season
The Rutgers women’s basketball team hosted Wisconsin last night and came out with a 73-53 win. The Scarlet Knights (19-8, 11-5) came into this game after losing to Michigan last Thursday.
Rutgers had its first home game with interim head coach Tim Eaton in his first game at the helm, who left with a win, while head coach C. Vivian Stringer is set to return following the Big Ten Tournament.
“You gotta make sure you’re doing everything you can to make sure Mom feels proud of you," Eaton said. "The way we played tonight, our energy, our effort, was so great.”
Before the game, junior guard Ciani Cryor, was dismissed from the team. Cryor had the second-best assists per game average in the conference.
This comes as the second dismissal in four days as former senior forward Caitlin Jenkins was previously dismissed from the team due to a violation of team policy. Jenkins was also the top rebounder on the team.
“We wouldn’t be where we are if CC (Cryor) wasn’t playing forward, so we’re really proud of her effort,” Eaton said. “Wherever she transfers, she’s gonna be a great player. We can’t drop our heads, woe is me. All of us have to step up, and as a collective effort, do everything we can.”
The Knights held an early lead with extra support from the free throw line. While the Badgers (13-15, 4-12) only made 1 of 6 attempted free throws, Rutgers was able to make 5 of 5 shots. Freshman guard Zipporah Broughton was able to finish the quarter with 3 made free throws to give the Knights a 6-point lead.
Rutgers was forcing pressure on Wisconsin from the beginning with a full court press that has led the Knights to wins in the past.
Tensions ran high throughout the first half as foul after foul was called on the Badgers, while they only shot .467 from the line. The Knights, on the other hand, were able to shoot .875 from the line.
Sophomore forward Tekia Mack hit 50 percent of field goals, 33.3 percent of 3-pointers and racked up 17 points total. For Rutgers, Mack was a dominating force on the court that also logged seven rebounds, which was the second-highest for the Knights and four steals.
Sophomore guard Arella Guirantes was right behind Mack and ended the night with 13 points. Guirantes shot 37.5 percent for field goals making 6 of her attempted 16 shots. Guirantes also nabbed a respectable four rebounds.
Senior center Victoria Harris led Rutgers in rebounds with nine respectively. While fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey was the third-highest for the Knights and racked in six rebounds.
Rutgers also had a huge lead in the third quarter that gave them a 25-point advantage against the Badgers. The Knights were able to only allow 2 3-pointers by Wisconsin the entire game. With such a large lead so early in the game, Rutgers was able to let up its press in the fourth quarter.
“(Eaton) has stepped up in a big way. It feels good to win. Not one of our best, but it feels good to win,” Mack said.
The Knights ended the night with 18 steals. Mack led the night with four of her own, while Harris and graduate student guard Charise Wilson followed close behind with three steals each.
The Rutgers defense was strong, while its offense was also solid. The Knights ended the night with a 44.4 percent for field goal shooting and 30 percent for 3-pointers.
With such high energy as this game, Rutgers looks hot going into its last home game of the season against Minnesota, currently ranked seventh in the Big Ten, while the Knights remain No. 3 in the conference.
In its second to last game of the season, Rutgers plays teams that it lost against. Against the Golden Gophers, the Knights lost by 14 points, and against Ohio State, they lost by 20 points.
“As long as we play this way the rest of the season, we’re gonna be really successful," Eaton said. "We’re excited about where we’re going. This program is built on execution. Are we gonna be prepared? We have to be prepared. I want us to come at it aggressive. Tenacious. I don’t want us to find a rhythm. Everyone has to be geared up to go."
For updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.