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Rutgers demolishes Coppin State in game of career highs

The last time the Rutgers women’s basketball team played a game on its own home court was on Feb. 28. The Scarlet Knights (2-0) faced Minnesota, and were able to come away with a win after a close fourth quarter between the two programs created for some excitement when Rutgers was able to pull ahead late in the game off the leadership of junior guard Arella Guirantes, who was then a sophomore.

A little more than eight months later, the Knights were scheduled to come back to the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) to oppose Coppin State, a school that had witnessed its basketball team struggle through a 5-25 season with only two of its wins coming on the road.

Before the game even started, it was clear that Rutgers’ game against the Eagles (0-1) was going to consist of a very different set of emotions for the spectators than its previous one at the Banks.

Winning the tip-off, the Knights were able to score first on a layup by junior center Jordan Wallace, who finished with a total of 10 points on the day. From that point on, Rutgers would hold the lead for the rest of the afternoon.

Following a graduate student guard Khadaizha "KK" Sanders layup and Coppin State timeout, the Knights set the tone early of exactly what kind of a game this was going to be, as players like junior forward Tekia Mack were able to showcase their skills against a noticeably less-talented Eagles team. 

Mack, who finished the day with a team-high 21 points, euro-stepped her way around Coppin State players at multiple points during the game, including when the result of doing so extended Rutgers’ lead to 32-17 with 37 seconds left in the first quarter.

The rest of the half saw the Knights’ continuous domination of the Eagles, with Rutgers eventually heading back to the locker room at halftime with the score being 57-20 in the Knights’ favor.

Come the latter portion of the game, though the team from the Banks was all but guaranteed its second win of the season, head coach C. Vivian Stringer’s players continued to tack onto their lead thanks to some more outstanding play from Sanders, which consisted of some behind-the-back passes on the back-ends of a couple fast breaks in the third quarter. 

The guard was most effective in her ability to lead and pace a Rutgers offense that was unrelenting in the second half of the game.

The third quarter also saw the Knights capture a 50-point lead with 2:10 left in the period, and would give way to an ever-enlarging deficit for Coppin State as the Eagles headed into the fourth quarter down 30-82.

The last period, though out-of-reach as it was for the visiting team at the RAC, included an interesting in-game strategy by Stringer that was exemplified by her players’ unrelenting approach on defense. 

As a result of Rutgers’ ability to press even in the latest stages of the game, the Knights were able to accumulate a total of 12 points from turnovers in the fourth quarter alone, which would add to a total that would reach 42 by the end of the contest.

From everything shown in the Saturday afternoon affair, it's hard not to be impressed by the level of play displayed by Rutgers. The program won the Saturday afternoon affair by a final score of 107-33, and in their efforts for doing so, did virtually everything right. 

With their next opponent being a tougher one in Niagara, it will be fascinating to see if the Knights will be able to continue their early-season dominance. Come Wednesday at 6 p.m., the spectators at the Banks will find out. 

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

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