After a month-long hiatus that included eight postponed games, the Rutgers women’s basketball team returned to action Sunday with a 78-62 win over Nebraska. The Scarlet Knights’ (6-3, 2-3) last contest was a Jan. 3 loss to the Cornhuskers (9-7, 7-6) before a series of positive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) tests forced the program to shut down for the rest of January.
Rutgers started the game on a strong note, outscoring Nebraska 22-10 in the first quarter of play. The Knights entered the half leading the Cornhuskers 43-31. Senior forward Tekia Mack led Rutgers with 17 points going into the break.
For the entirety of the second half, the Knights maintained a steady lead over Nebraska, with the Cornhuskers never making the game closer than 8 points. After Nebraska's Sam Haiby's layup cut the Rutgers lead to 62-54 with approximately 6 minutes left in the game, the Knights closed the game on a 16-8 run to secure their second conference win of the season.
Rutgers was led by a scoring effort from Mack, who finished with 26 points and tied for the team-leading four steals in the win. Freshman guard Diamond Johnson contributed 22 points and four three-pointers, while fifth-year guard Arella Guirantes chipped in 17 points and a team-high six assists. Sophomore forward Tyia Singleton scored 6 points and led the Knights with 11 rebounds.
In the losing effort, Haiby led the Cornhuskers scoring 20 points. Nebraska's Annika Stewart contributed 12 points off the bench, while Cornhusker Ashley Scoggin scored 10 points. Nebraska's Isabelle Bourne and Bella Cravens both led the Cornhuskers in rebounds with six rebounds apiece.
Rutgers turned in a better overall shooting percentage, shooting 49.2 percent, while Nebraska shot better from the three-point line and won the rebounding battle 31-28. The Knights, who lead the Big Ten in turnovers forced per game behind only Northwestern, continued that trend accumulating 13 steals and forcing 18 Cornhusker turnovers. Rutgers led by as much as 18 in the contest.
The Knights will now travel to play the Wildcats on Thursday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
“It was great to get the win,” said head women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer. “It was worth the wait, but we've got a lot more games.”
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