Coming off of a nine-game winning streak to end its regular season, the No. 19 Rutgers women’s basketball team heads to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament. The Scarlet Knights (14-3, 10-3) head into the postseason having taken down two ranked teams and have held their foes to a conference-best 56.2 points per game (PPG), in part due to head women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringers’ 55 defense.
Led by senior forward/guard Tekia Mack’s 45 steals, Rutgers averages 12.7 steals per game, putting them at fifth in the country and first in the Big Ten. Freshman guard Diamond Johnson has 36 steals while senior forward Mael Gilles has 35. The Knights compiled 96 blocks led by fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes’ 34. Sophomore forward Tyia Singleton has 25.
Guirantes leads Rutgers with 20.8 PPG and 92 assists. She is second in rebounds to Singleton’s 113. Singleton leads the Knights with 6.6 rebounds per game. In the final game of the season, Singleton had her first double-double with career highs of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Rejoining the rotation for the first time in 2021 was junior guard Zipporah Broughton. Against Ohio State, she played 7 minutes and had 2 points. Freshman center Sakima Walker sees action in most games, often in rotation with Singleton. Walker has 3.4 PPG and 30 rebounds.
The nation’s tenth best three-point shooting percentage belongs to Johnson. Her .464 has brought her to 17.4 PPG. Mack is third on the team with 11.4 PPG and has dished out 44 assists.
Finishing third in the Big Ten tied the Knights’ best conference finish and earned them a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, meaning on Thursday, they will take on the winner of the Iowa and Purdue game that takes place on Wednesday.
Rutgers took down Purdue 75-57 as a part of its recent winning streak but its first scheduled matchup and both games against Iowa were canceled due to the Knights’ coronavirus disease (COVID-19) stoppage in January.
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