Rutgers can't stop Minnesota comeback, falters for 2nd conference loss

The Rutgers women's basketball team found itself running into an issue that it's faced several times already this year: faltering in the second half. 

The No. 20 Scarlet Knights (17-5, 9-2) were outplayed 43-23 in the second half by Minnesota in Minneapolis, and eventually lost 60-46.   

“We didn’t come to play. Minnesota wanted it more,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer, when asked about how the home team turned things around in the second half. 

If losing wasn’t enough, senior forward Caitlin Jenkins, who's averaged 6 points and 6.8 rebounds over 20 games played, has been suspended for a violation of team policy.  

Rutgers only had one player reach double figures, and that was fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey, who scored 16 points and went 7-12 from the field.   

Like a lot of their previous road games, there was a giant foul discrepancy. The Knights were whistled for 27 fouls, while the Golden Gophers (15-7, 4-7) were called for 12 fouls. Rutgers went 5 of 10 from the free throw line, while Minnesota attempted a whopping 31 free throws and made 25.   

The glass is another place where the Gophers had a significant advantage. They out-rebounded the Knights 44-31, including grabbing 18-13 edge on the offensive glass.   

Leading by 5 points with 3:21 remaining in the third quarter, Rutgers yielded a 13-2 run to Minnesota to close the quarter, giving its opponent a 39-33 lead. 

The Gophers' Jasmine Brunson scored 9 of her 13 points in the third quarter. They took a 45-35 lead with 8:07 remaining on a 3-pointer from Taiye Bello, who scored 11 points and tallied 21 rebounds. 

The Knights would cut it to 45-40 with 5:48 remaining when Cryor made a 3-pointer, but Minnesota slammed the door on any potential comeback, outscoring Rutgers 15-6 after that. 

The Gophers had four players finish in double figures. Besides Bello and Brunson, Keisha Bell scored 19 points and Destiny Pitts scored 14 points. Both players scored 9 points in the fourth quarter, a period in which the Minnesota held a 21-13 advantage. 

For the Knights, sophomore forward Tekia Mack scored 8 points and had a team-high seven rebounds, in 25 minutes played. True freshman guard Zipporah Broughton also scored 8 points.

Graduate student guard Charise Wilson played a team-high 39 minutes, but had just 3 points on 1-10 shooting from the field. 

Two games after starting and playing 27 minutes, sophomore guard Arella Guirantes came off the bench against the Gophers. She played just 14 minutes while scoring 2 points. 

Rutgers will have one week off before No. 10 Maryland comes to Piscataway for an afternoon showdown on Sunday. The Knights currently lead the Terrapins (19-2, 8-2) by a half game in the Big Ten standings. Maryland will play Thursday at home against Northwestern before Sunday's game against Rutgers.

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

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