Following a postponement of its game last Wednesday, the Rutgers women’s basketball team began its season with an 82-38 victory over Monmouth.
The win improves the Scarlet Knights’ (1-0, 0-0) home opener record under head coach C. Vivian Stringer to 20-6, and they are now 41-7 at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) since 2017-18.
The starting line up was made up of student-athletes who took the floor for Rutgers last year. It consisted of senior guard Arella Guirantes, senior forward Tekia Mack, junior guard Zipporah Broughton, senior forward Mael Gilles and sophomore forward Tyia Singleton. They combined for 49 points.
Off the bench, freshman guard Diamond Johnson forced a travel and, on the next play, started the scoring near the top of the key. Less than 2 minutes later, she drilled her first collegiate three-pointer. Guirantes added 9 points in the first quarter to bring the score to 19-10 in the home team’s favor after 10 minutes.
Stringer compared the highly-touted prospect with the proven veteran at her postgame press conference. “I thought Diamond did exceptionally well. She seemed very calm and confident,” Stringer said. “Like (Guirantes), (she) appreciates the players around her."
The second quarter was all Rutgers as its defense kicked into high gear and held the Hawks (0-1, 0-0) to a mere 4 points. Offensively, the Knights carried over an 18-0 scoring run from the first quarter. Rutgers went into halftime carrying a 42-14 lead.
Monmouth started the scoring in the second half. The Knights ended the period on a 15-0 run to bring the scoreboard to 68-22.
In the final frame, Broughton scored 6 points, adding to her 3 from the third quarter. As time expired on the matinee matchup, Rutgers was ahead by more than 40.
Freshman guard Liz Martino notched her first points at the collegiate level.
Freshman center Sakima Walker posted 5 points and grabbed a board to go along with a block and steal. Junior guards Stephanie Guihon and Destiny Marshall saw their first minutes of action on the Banks. Guihon pulled in an offensive rebound and scored 4 points, and Marshall added 2 points.
Mack forced six steals, good for a career-high, and added a block. She reeled in six defensive rebounds and put up 9 points and three assists. The rest of the defense forced 12 steals, tying last season’s high of 18. The defensive effort led to 42 points off turnovers for the Knights.
The next game on Rutgers' schedule is Dec. 11 against Wisconsin. The Knights went 3-0 against the Badgers last season, including an 8-point victory in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
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