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Rutgers women's basketball to take on Minnesota

Fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes and freshman center Sakima Walker look to defeat Minnesota and help the Rutgers women's basketball team continue its winning streak. – Photo by Rutgers Women's Basketball / Twitter

Coming off three-straight double-digit victories, the Rutgers women's basketball team will look to continue its streak with a win against Minnesota.

In the victory against Purdue, head women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer stuck with a very small rotation, only substituting freshman center Sakima Walker in for sophomore forward Tyia Singleton and vice versa.

The Scarlet Knights (8-3, 4-3) have yet to score less than 70 since their hiatus ended, while the Golden Gophers (7-9, 6-8) have found success recently and won their last two games, both of which were at home. They have struggled on the road this year, winning only 3 of 6 games.

Minnesota’s success can largely be attributed to Jasmine Powell. She leads the Gophers with 15.5 points per game (PPG) and 24 steals, shoots approximately 36 percent from deep and averages 4.9 rebounds per game. Minnesota's Sara Scalia has 15.2 PPG while missing only one free throw on the season.

The Gophers' Kadi Sissoko leads the team in boards, bringing down 109 through 16 games, and is second with eight blocks.

Coming off her third 30-point game of the year, fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes has been contributing in every aspect. She leads Rutgers with 22 PPG, 59 assists, 27 steals and 26 blocks.

Right behind her in PPG is true freshman guard Diamond Johnson, who is coming off a 19 point, nine-rebound performance against the Boilermakers (6-11, 3-10). Her deep ball percentage stands at 50 percent. A member of the short rotation, Johnson averages 17.9 points and has swiped 21 steals to go along with 30 assists.

The Knights have four players with more than 20 steals on the season, leading Rutgers to fourth in the country with 13.4 steals per game. The team's defensive efforts are clear as it is tied for eighth in the country with 21.18 turnovers forced per game, which is best in the Big Ten.

Including tonight’s matchup, the Knights have five games left before the Big Ten Tournament. As things stand now, Rutgers falls in at sixth overall in the Big Ten. Out of the 5 teams above them, the Knights are set to face only 1, Ohio State, before the tournament. Another opponent on the horizon is Michigan State, seventh in the Big Ten.

The final stretch of the season will feature many competitive matchups, starting with tonight against Minnesota.

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

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