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No. 24 Rutgers women's basketball finishes season on nine-game win streak

Senior forward Tekia Mack helped the Rutgers women's basketball team celebrate Senior Day with a ranked win over Ohio State in its final regular season game.  – Photo by Rutgers Women's Basketball / Twitter

For the ninth time in a row, the No. 24 Rutgers women’s basketball team claimed victory, this one coming in the form of a 71-63 takedown of No. 22 Ohio State. This Big Ten winning streak is the longest one in the Scarlet Knights’ (14-3, 10-3) history.

Both Rutgers and the Buckeyes (13-7, 9-7) completed their regular seasons, but Ohio State will not be playing in the postseason tournaments due to a self-imposed restriction.

The Senior Night victory marks the Knights’ second victory against a ranked team this season. Fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes, senior forward Mael Gilles and senior forward Tekia Mack were honored during a pregame ceremony.

“It’s not like a traditional Senior Night, but I’m grateful for it, and I’m grateful for everyone around me who has just poured into me and my teammates,” Guirantes said after the game.

The seasoned veterans proceeded to post high numbers.

Guirantes had a double-double with 20 points, the highest for Rutgers, as well as 10 rebounds and four assists. Gilles scored 6 and had five boards, with two assists and two blocks. Mack knocked down 11 points and had five rebounds. She also had four assists and two blocks.

Sophomore forward Tyia Singleton had career numbers across the board. She posted her first double-double with the Knights. Her 18 points and 13 boards are good for her career-high. Her defense was on display with her career-high six blocks.

At the postgame press conference, Singleton said, “I did what I’m supposed to do … It was exciting to know that my teammates trust me in those (types) of situations.”

Rutgers’ defense held the Buckeyes to approximately 20 points below their average of 81.1 points per game. The team swiped eight balls, led by three from true freshman guard Diamond Johnson. The Knights tied their highest block amount in a Big Ten game with 12.

After taking an 8-7 lead early in the first quarter, Rutgers went on a 13-2 run to end the quarter up 21-9.

Ohio State showed signs of life in the second quarter, but freshman guard Liz Martino hit two shots from downtown, and the teams went into the locker rooms with the Knights up 37-26.

Coming into the final 20 minutes of the game, Guirantes scored more than half of her game points in the third quarter, pushing Rutgers’ lead to 53-42 going into the fourth quarter.

Scoring 6 points in a row, the Buckeyes reduced the Knights’ lead to 9. Singleton then scored 4, and Rutgers claimed victory on its home court.

For the first time in 2021, junior guard Zipporah Broughton checked in, scoring 2 points in 7 minutes of play.

With the win, the Knights secured the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, their best finish since 2014-15. Securing more than just a high ranking, Rutgers clinched a double-bye and won’t play until Thursday. The Knights will face the winner of the Purdue-Iowa matchup.

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