Despite taking an 8-point lead into halftime, the Rutgers women’s basketball team was not able to leave Columbus, Ohio, with a victory, falling 61-57 to Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights (7-17, 0-12) remain winless in Big Ten play this season and see their losing streak extend to 10 games.
The first quarter saw both teams trade baskets for the first 5 minutes before the No. 21 Buckeyes (17-4, 9-3) took a 5-point lead after two threes from Taylor Mikesell. Rikki Harris added a jumper at the end of the quarter to increase the lead to 6 going into the second.
Rutgers saw an offensive outburst in the second quarter, outscoring Ohio State by 14 and taking a three-possession lead into the halftime break. Graduate student guard Sawayni Lassiter took over, hitting four threes and accounting for half of the points scored by the Knights in the quarter.
In the same quarter, Rutgers shot 80 percent from three and more than 50 percent from the field while holding the Buckeyes to less than 25 percent shooting.
Ohio State responded quickly after halftime with a 13-0 run to start the third quarter as the Knights could not stop fouling, giving up 8 quick points from the free throw line. Lassiter could not keep her momentum from the first half going, missing three shot attempts and committing four personal fouls in 6 minutes.
Rutgers went scoreless for the first 7 minutes before the teams began to trade baskets, with a buzzer-beater from graduate student guard Victoria Morris cutting the lead to 1 point going into the fourth. Morris and junior guard Awa Sidibe accounted for all 10 points scored by the Knights in the third quarter.
A layup from graduate student forward Osh Brown put Rutgers back into the lead with just 6 minutes remaining in the game. The lead would not be held for long, as the Buckeyes immediately responded with 7 unanswered points to take control of the game. Lassiter hit a late three to bring the Knights within 1, but they could not capitalize further and remain winless in 2022.
Rutgers was not able to keep its efficiency from the first half, missing all of its three point attempts in the second half and shooting less than 40 percent from the field.
Mikesell led all scorers with 26 points, hitting 6 of her 11 attempts from behind the arc. Despite fouling out, Lassiter led the Knights with 15 points, as Morris and Brown also reached double figures.
Rutgers will have five days to rest before facing Penn State on Sunday at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.
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