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Rutgers women's basketball faces Wisconsin on Friday

Rutgers looks to start conference play with a victory against Wisconsin on Friday. – Photo by The Daily Targum

Following a win against Monmouth to begin their season, the Rutgers women’s basketball team is back in action this Friday, Dec. 11, on the road against Wisconsin. 

In all three matchups last season between the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 0-0) and the Badgers (1-1, 0-1), the team from the Banks claimed victory, including an 8-point win in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. Wisconsin has not defeated Rutgers since February of 2017.

The matchup later this week will not be the first in conference play for the Badgers. They most recently suffered a 7-point defeat at the hands of Iowa. The majority of their scoring came from Sydney Hilliard who tallied 26 points, setting a new career-high for the second straight game.

They can also count on scoring from Imani Lewis who notched 17. Hilliard and Lewis again led Wisconsin in scoring in their season opener against Western Illinois with 24 and 13 points, respectively.

Rebounding for the Badgers has mostly come from the aforementioned duo as well as Sara Stapleton and Julie Pospíšilovà. Through two games, Stapleton has reeled in 15 rebounds while Pospíšilovà has brought down 16 boards. Lewis leads the team with 18, but a single rebound behind her is Hilliard. They are outrebounding their opponents by 10 boards through two games.

Senior forward and guard Tekia Mack had the second-most rebounds in the season opener for the Knights, with sophomore forward Tyia Singleton in the lead with eight. Although not securing any balls off the glass, true freshman guard Diamond Johnson scored 15 points in her debut and logged 20 minutes of playing time. 

Shooting from the charity stripe was almost perfect against Monmouth. Johnson missed two but converted on her other two, en route to Rutgers converting on 17-of-19 shots from the line. Wisconsin is shooting 67.6 percent from the stripe.

When it comes to the three-ball, the Knights knocked down 10-of-32 deep shots taken in their lone game. Johnson led the team with three with senior guard Arella Guirantes notching two. The Badgers have connected on a quarter of their outside shots, good for 10-of-40. They are holding opponents to a success rate of 28.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Hawks fired 13 shots from the perimeter against Rutgers and converted on five.

Defensively, Wisconsin has eight blocks with three players having two, including Stapleton. Pospíšilovà leads the Badgers with seven of their 16 steals. Behind her is Hilliard with four. Their opponents have given up 32 turnovers, while they have given up 34. 

Hilliard has dished out 10 assists, followed by Pospíšilovà with eight. They have accounted for almost half of Wisconsin’s assists. As a team, they have 31, and their opponents have 32. 

The Knights are nearly on pace with the Badgers on assists, racking up 17 in their only game. Guirantes led with five, and three players all managed to add on three assists.

Rutgers' defense already has 18 steals, a third of which came from Mack. Guirantes had the game-high of three blocks. The turnover battle was firmly in the Knights' hands in their first game. Rutgers coughed up 13, but Monmouth's 30 led to 42 points off turnovers.

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

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