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Rutgers women's basketball falls to Iowa in Big Ten Tournament

A team leading 26 points from freshman guard Diamond Johnson was not enough as the Rutgers women's basketball team fell to Iowa in its first Big Ten Tournament game.  – Photo by Rutgers Women's Basketball / Twitter

Coming off a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament the No. 19 Rutgers women’s basketball team fell to Iowa, 73-62.

The Scarlet Knights (14-4, 10-3) and Hawkeyes (17-8, 13-8) played in the last game of the day in a quarterfinals round that saw the two, three and four seeds upset.

Coaching against her former employer, head women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer displayed the same starting lineup she has for the last several games while substituting true freshman guard Liz Martino and junior guard Zipporah Broughton from the bench. Broughton racked up three rebounds and three assists.

Freshman guard Diamond Johnson started the game’s scoring with a triple. She came into the game shooting approximately 46.4 percent from deep, good for second best in the Big Ten. She finished 4-12 from behind the arc but led Rutgers with 26 points.

The score went back and forth in the first quarter, with neither team forming a lead, until a 10-0 Iowa run. Johnson broke the run with a layup, but the quarter ended 18-9 in favor of the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s offensive onslaught carried into the second quarter with a 7-0 streak. The Knights ended the half on a 7-0 run, cutting the Hawkeyes' lead to 39-25. Johnson did most of the first half scoring for Rutgers, including their only three shots from three-point land, and ended the first 20 minutes with 15 points.

Fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes started the third quarter with 6 points, matching her output from the first half. She finished the game with 20 points. Johnson kept the Knights within 10, by swiping a steal and sinking the subsequent lay-up. After a media timeout, senior forward Mael Gilles hit her first triple of the game. Heading into the final frame, Rutgers trailed 60-49.

As the final 10 minutes ticked away, Iowa wasn't scoring for a little more than 3 minutes while The Knights had a 7-0 run, although not enough, as Rutgers exited the Big Ten Tournament after just one game. The Knights saw their largest deficit of the season at 21.

Senior forward Tekia Mack was quiet on the stat sheet, managing 3 points and four rebounds. A team that has become known for its Big Ten-leading 12.7 steals per game managed 10, with Johnson swiping five.

Rutgers will listen for its name to be called on Selection Monday this week and will resume action on March 21 or 22 in the NCAA Tournament.

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

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