The Rutgers women’s basketball team will face off against its first Big Ten opponent when Ohio State comes to Jersey Mike's Arena on Livingston campus this Sunday. The Scarlet Knights (4-5, 0-0) currently rank 13th out of 14 teams in the conference, while the No. 4 Buckeyes (7-0, 0-0) are at the top of the standings, tied with two other teams.
To start off the season, Rutgers won 3 of its first 4 games. In the Battle 4 Atlantis, the Knights lost three straight with two blowout losses. Coming back home, Rutgers had a nice bounce-back win against Cornell with a 71-52 victory but fell to Boston College on Wednesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge by a score of 75-61.
So far this season, the Knights have averaged 63.2 points per game (PPG) while allowing their opponents to score 70.8. Freshman guard Kaylene Smikle has been a bright spot on the court for Rutgers, averaging a program-high 13.3 PPG. Senior guard Awa Sidibe is second on the team in PPG with 10.8.
A lack of depth has hurt the Knights during the first stretch of the season as they only have eight players on the roster and three bench players per game. Head coach Coquese Washington has tried to lessen this impact by reducing the number of minutes each player has, but this strategy hasn’t solved all those issues just yet.
It’s been an inconsistent start to the season for Rutgers, and it won’t get any easier when the Knights' top-five opponent takes to the court in Piscataway.
The Buckeyes average 94.3 PPG as a team, outscoring their opponents by more than 30 points. Forward Rebeka Mikulášiková currently leads the team in PPG with 18.1. Guard Taylor Mikesell follows close behind with 17.7.
Ohio State’s field goal percentage is above average as the program makes 51 percent of shots taken. From beyond the arc, the Buckeyes have a 37.6 percent success rate.
After the contest against Ohio State, Rutgers is scheduled to face off against Illinois in an away matchup and will then play three state out-of-conference games before the season transitions strictly into Big Ten play.
This game will celebrate C. Vivian Stringer Day and the Hall of Famer will be honored with a pregame and halftime ceremony. Tip-off between the Knights and the Buckeyes is scheduled for noon and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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