Rutgers visits Harvard for second straight road game

This Saturday, the Rutgers women’s basketball team makes its way to Boston, Mass. for its first game of December against Harvard (4-5). The Scarlet Knights (5-3) are 1-3 away from the Rutgers Athletics Center (RAC) and will be playing their fifth game on the road.

In its most recent game, Rutgers lost against Virginia Tech (9-0), last Wednesday. Despite falling on the road to the Hokies, the Knights have not lost a game to a team with a losing record this season.

“It’s not an excuse but the fact of the matter,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “We just came from Vancouver, so we got a chance to get back two nights ago, get a walk-through at 10:30 p.m. But more importantly we just have to do a better job of scheduling.”

While Rutgers has had a tough time on the road this season, it has finally gotten a sufficient amount of rest before traveling once more.

The Knights have a higher field goal percentage than the Crimson, with .442 compared to .415, respectively. 

Another statistic to look at are the teams’ turnovers, steals and blocks per game. Harvard has 16.4 turnovers per game, 3.8 blocks per game and 6.4 steals per game compared to Rutgers' 17.9 turnovers per game, 6.6 blocks per game and 9.8 steals per game. 

The defense from fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey and sophomore forward Mael Gilles has helped the team this season. They have 17 and 10 total blocks, respectively.

While the team may have been exhausted by travel the last several weeks, the Knights' offensive performance was not as expected in those games. Against Virginia Tech, Rutgers was not able to move quite as fast as their opponent. 

There have been several injuries on the bench since the beginning of the season that are important to note. This has been a major impact on the way the Knights have played. Stringer has been adjusting positions in response to the increased injuries.

After the health of the team improves, Rutgers will truly be able to focus on offense. Stringer also noted that some players have not been able to practice much with the team.

The Crimson surpassed the Knights in 3-point percentage. With 8.8 made per game compared to Rutgers' 4.9, Harvard has the upper hand. This could pose a problem for the Knights.

While Rutgers is 0-1 on the road, the Crimson are 1-2 at home, which puts them on a fairly even playing ground.

Where one team has a clear lead, they lack in another area and vice versa. It's hard to determine which team is stronger. But Saturday will put that question to the test. 

The Knights should play as a team with a focus on communication. In the past, they have struggled with communicating plays, which hurt them against the Hokies. Communication is key before the team can advance with their adjustments in offense.

Rutgers' next home game will be on Saturday, Dec. 15 at the RAC against Louisiana State at 4 p.m.

“We were missing a couple people,” Stringer said. “A lot of this was exposed by the offense. We are slow. Much slower than I am hoping we need to be. We’re still not as good. We’re still not as consistent in shooting.”

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

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