In the first leg of a home series, the Rutgers women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to seven games after beating Penn State 60-55.
Fresh off an upset victory against No. 15 Ohio State, the Nittany Lions (9-12, 6-11) engaged in a defensive battle against the Scarlet Knights (12-3, 8-3) and eventually fell victim to Rutgers’ defense in the Sunday afternoon matchup.
Following the game, women's head basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer said, “It was another gutsy win because we weren’t playing well … we didn’t lose confidence.”
Freshman guard Diamond Johnson who sits at third in the nation when it comes to three-point percentage, hit a deep shot from the wing and at halftime was responsible for both of Rutgers’ makes from downtown.
At the end of the first 10 minutes, the Knights led 13-8.
Thanks to a three-point play from Guirantes early in the second, Rutgers went on a 9-0 scoring run that started late in the first quarter. By midway through the second quarter, Penn State had given up 12 turnovers which the Knights turned into 27 points.
Going into the locker rooms, Rutgers led 27-17.
The second half saw a 5-0 scoring run from the Nittany Lions to start, but senior forward Mael Gilles ended it with a jumper. Sophomore forward Tyia Singleton, who logged nearly 20 minutes of play, picked up her fourth foul with six minutes to go in the third.
After the Knights surrendered their lead for the first time in the afternoon, Gilles hit consecutive shots from downtown to bring Rutgers back within a possession. Soon after the Knights got their lead back as time in the quarter expired, putting Rutgers up 42-41 heading into the last 10 minutes.
Penn State scored 24 points in the third quarter, 7 more than the entire first half.
The Nittany Lions retook the lead in the fourth quarter until Mack knocked down a three to put the Knights up by 2 points. She later pushed their lead to 7 from behind the arc.
Gilles ended the game as the scoring leader for Rutgers with 16 points and three rebounds. After the game, she said, “This is the time you need to show up … my team needs me to show up today.”
Second in scoring was Guirantes with 14. Johnson connected on two long-range shots and shot 3-11 from the field.
Mack made an impact in more than scoring. Her 12 points helped in the tight game, but she grabbed three steals and handed out six assists.
Looking to the future matchup, Guirantes said it would be key to, “keep them off the boards.” Penn State had 37 rebounds, one more than the Knights. The second part of the series takes place Tuesday on the Banks.
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