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Rutgers women's basketball improves to 3-0 with wins over South Alabama, Fairfield

Sophomore center Sakima Walker put up 10 points against South Alabama. – Photo by Benjamin Chelnitsky

The Rutgers women's basketball team remains undefeated after two wins in three days, defeating South Alabama 64-45 and outlasting Fairfield 48-42.

In their first matchup of the weekend, the Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) were led by 48 points from substitutes, outscoring the entire Jaguars (1-1, 0-0) team. Fifth-year senior guard Stephanie Guihon set a new career-high with 12 points, and sophomore center Sakima Walker made her first career start, playing 23 minutes and contributing 10 points. 

Rutgers and South Alabama played a competitive first half, with the Knights leading 26-22 at the break. The second half was where the game was decided, as Rutgers started the third quarter with a 13-1 run that pushed their lead to 16. 

“In the second half, we played with a lot of energy and a lot of effort out there,” said acting head coach Timothy Eatman. “I think we're getting a little bit better, but I was really proud of their effort and the way they competed tonight. Overall it was a great team win, we're still finding our way and if we learn how to share the basketball a little bit more, we have a chance to be a pretty good basketball team."

Much of the scoring for the Knights came from the backcourt, as sophomore guard Liz Martino and graduate student guard Victoria Morris both provided 9 points to add to Guihon’s 12, with Morris shooting a perfect 3-for-3 from the field. Martino’s points all came from behind the arc, as she made three three-pointers in the victory. 

The victory was Eatman’s 46th career win as a head coach, as he led Illinois-Chicago from 1998 to 2002.

Rutgers then followed the win with another competitive first half against the Stags (1-1, 0-0), trailing 21-20 after two quarters of play. The back and forth affair saw both teams trade the lead multiple times in the third quarter, with the Knights leading by 1 after the third. 

A late 5-0 run brought the lead down to one with just a minute remaining, but a clutch three from Morris put the game away and free throws brought the lead to 6, where it would stay as Rutgers remains undefeated this season. 

The Knights improved to 51-8 at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus over the past four seasons, and have won 13 consecutive non-conference matchups. Their next matchup is also in Piscataway as they face Stony Brook at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU.

“We’re better today than we were yesterday,” Eatman said. “Hopefully at 11 o’clock on Tuesday, we’ll be ready to play.”

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

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