The Big Ten released its All-Big Ten Teams and Honors yesterday, according to Rutgers Athletics. Three players from the Rutgers women's basketball team earned accolades, after the No. 19 Scarlet Knights (14-3, 10-3) ended on a nine-game win streak and finished third in the Big Ten, tied for its highest conference finish.
Fifth-year senior guard Arella Guirantes is one of the honorees who paved the way for the Knights’ success. After being voted on by coaches and media, Guirantes finds herself on the First Team All-Big Ten for the second year in a row, becoming the first Rutgers player to do so.
For her first time, Guirantes is a part of the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, which is voted on by the media. At the season’s end, Guirantes compiled team-highs in both 87 defensive rebounds and 34 blocks in addition to 36 steals, tied for second on the Knights.
Guirantes finished the regular season as the lone player in the Big Ten to place among the top five in four categories. Her 20.8 points per game (PPG) is good for third, and Guirantes managed to score more than 30 points three times this year. Guirantes dished out 5.4 assists per game, blocked two shots per game and was tied for fifth in steals, with 2.1 steals per game (SPG).
Guirantes is 1 of 15 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, given to the best college basketball player in the country. Candidates have to be two-way players on the court as well as show strength in the classroom, according to Rutgers Athletics. On March 26, the winner will be announced.
Freshman guard Diamond Johnson was voted to the Second Team All-Big Ten, while also being unanimously voted into the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by the coaches and media. She is the first Rutgers freshman to be selected onto a top All-Big Ten Team as well as the only one to make a Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Johnson is second among Big Ten players in shooting .464 from deep and is tied for fifth with 2.1 SPG. She netted more than 20 points six times in her rookie campaign on her way to 17.4 PPG.
Joining her teammate, senior forward Tekia Mack is on her second consecutive Big Ten All-Defensive Team and is an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention for the second straight year. She had a team-high of 45 steals as well as 14 blocks and 52 defensive rebounds. Her 3.2 SPG is second-best in the Big Ten and eighth-best in the country.
Mack was able to tie the Rutgers Athletic Center’s single-game steals record with eight against Minnesota. The defensive show the Knights put on was directed by head women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer and her 55 defense.
Big Ten Tournament action for Rutgers begins Thursday when they face the winner of the Iowa/Purdue matchup.
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