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Rutgers travels down to Charlotte looking for 3rd straight win to start season

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez

The Rutgers women’s basketball team will look to collect three wins in a row in a showdown with the Charlotte 49ers on Thursday night. The Scarlet Knights (2-0) are coming off of two consecutive road wins, including an 84-67 win over Temple on Monday night. 

Charlotte (1-1) will face its second straight Big Ten opponent in a row as it lost to Wisconsin, 80-66, on Sunday. 

Last season, the 49ers were 21-10 overall, and beat their lone Big Ten opponent Wisconsin, 63-48. Rutgers, who was 6-24 last season, also beat Wisconsin last year, 68-52, in one of its three Big Ten conference wins. It also lost to Wisconsin twice after, by scores of 53-41 and 61-55. 

The Knights have a chance in this game to not only win their third consecutive game in a row, but notch their third straight road win. Getting to three wins would be half of their entire win total last season.  

So far this season, the depth of this Rutgers team has proven to be the difference. After two games, it has 11 players averaging more than 10 minutes per game. Head coach C. Vivian Stringer’s press defense can account for this statistic, as she likes to rotate in fresh legs to continually bother opponents. 

“I appreciate the depth of this team,” Stringer said, in a post-game interview at Temple. “They enjoy playing defense. But see, we’ve wanted to do that all along. We didn’t have the people that could do it. But now we do, and now you see that the Scarlet Knights like to run, the Scarlet Knights like to play great defense and the Scarlet Knights have the balance of the three point shot.” 

The Knights are shooting 34.5 percent from three-point range so far this season, compared to their opponents who are shooting 26.5 percent. Sophomore guard Ciani Cryor leads the team in three-point shots made as well as percentage, shooting 5-11 from three, good enough for a 45.5 percent clip. 

Fifth-year senior guard Tyler Scaife leads the team in scoring so far, averaging 18 points per game. Next highest is senior guard Jazlynd Rollins, coming off the bench posting 11 points per game. 

“She’s been doing that all year quite frankly ... she’s been lighting it up all year and I’m real pleased with how she’s playing," Stringer said, on Rollins's exceptional play off the bench.

In order to leave Charlotte with a win, Rutgers is going to have to play tough defense as the 49ers have four players who average over 10 points per game, led by Amaya Ransom who averages 15.5 points per game. 

Another area where Rutgers can capitalize over Charlotte is rebounding. Rutgers averages 45 rebounds per game compared to Charlotte’s 37.5 per game. 

After the game in Charlotte, Rutgers will return home to Piscataway for its home opener on Sunday, Nov. 19 against Wake Forest.