For the fifth consecutive game, the Rutgers women's basketball team was victorious in its Saturday matinee matchup against Illinois.
The Scarlet Knights (10-3, 6-3) defeated the Fighting Illini (3-15, 1-14) at the Rutgers Athletic Center 75-46. During its recent win streak, Rutgers scored more than 70 points in each game and has held opponents to under 60, five times.
Saturday’s defensive performance featured 26 forced turnovers for the Knights, leading to 24 points for Rutgers. The Knights nabbed 18 steals, five from senior forward Tekia Mack who ranks among the top five in the country swiping 3.6 steals a game.
Mack also made an impact on the offensive side for Rutgers. She had 7 points while her eight assists were good for her career-high.
Allowing 56 points per game, the Knights lead the Big Ten.
Rutgers finished 47.8 percent from the field on the day. In the closing minutes of the opening frame, the Knights forced four turnovers and held off Illinois’ scoring efforts. Rutgers was up 23-10 at the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, the Knights did all the scoring for 6 minutes and held off an Illini field goal for another 2 minutes. Going into halftime, Rutgers was up 41-22. Thanks to a quick 6 points from senior guard Arella Guirantes with a deep ball from true freshman guard Diamond Johnson, the Knights went up by more than 20 in the third and ended 61-34.
Guirantes led Rutgers with 24 points. Johnson was second on the team with 20. Shooting 4-8 from far, Johnson is second in the country with a 53 percent success rate from downtown.
In the final frame, the Knights grabbed their biggest lead at 32 with 4 points from junior guard Stephanie Guihon, three boards from freshman forward Chyna Cornwell, another three rebounds and 2 points from freshman forward and guard Erica Lafayette. Junior guard Destiny Marshall had 2 points and a steal.
“We have a standard … we’re still not satisfied with the way we are winning,” Guirantes said after the game. “Once the team starts thinking like that, that’s when you know something special is going to happen.”
On Wednesday, Rutgers looks to extend its winning streak against Michigan State, in East Lansing, Michigan. The Spartans (12-6, 7-6) are coming off a narrow, three-point win against Purdue.
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