The Rutgers women’s basketball team came out of their short break and resumed Big Ten Conference play with a 90-72 loss yesterday evening against Penn State. The Scarlet Knights (6-9, 0-3) suffered an early large deficit in the first half against the Nittany Lions (10-4, 1-2) that they could not come back from.
By the end of the first quarter, Rutgers was already down 20 points. The Knights kept it close at the 7:20 mark when they were only trailing 7-4, but Penn State exploded for an 11-0 run and led 18-4 at the 5:40 mark.
Throughout the first quarter, the Nittany Lions hit six three-pointers off shots from four of their players. Guard Makenna Marisa hit three of those long shots and led Penn State to a whopping 33-13 lead by the end of the quarter.
Rutgers played better in the second period of play but still found itself down 53-29 at halftime. The Knights had 22 total turnovers in the first half. Coming into the game, Rutgers averaged approximately 20 turnovers per game and surpassed that average through one half of play against the Nittany Lions.
While the first half featured many negatives for the Knights, there was second half improvement. Rutgers opened up the back half with two consecutive scoring possessions and were later able to lessen its deficit to 16 points after two free throws by senior guard Kai Carter made the score 60-44 in favor of Penn State at the 4:12 mark of the third quarter.
But by the end of the third quarter, the Nittany Lions once again were ahead by more than 20 points as they led 72-50.
The Knights went on a 10-4 run to start the fourth quarter, but could not sustain their momentum or hold off Penn State from scoring. When the final buzzer sounded, Rutgers was down by 18 points and walked off the court with its third in-conference loss.
The Knights did not lead the Nittany Lions once throughout the whole game. On the other hand, Penn State had a 28-point lead at one point which was its longest of the game over Rutgers. While the Knights outscored the Nittany Lions in second half points 43-37, an overall total of 31 turnovers is not what head coach Coquese Washington wanted to see out of Rutgers.
Marisa outpaced all of her Penn State teammates and Knights opponents with 32 points, five rebounds and three assists. Guard Leilani Kapinus followed with 14 points for the Nittany Lions and added four rebounds with five assists. Kapinus also led the team with six steals.
Freshman guard Kaylene Smikle once again led Rutgers in points with 18. Four players, including Smikle, reached double-digit points. Junior forward Chyna Cornwell and senior center Kassondra Brown scored 13 points while junior guard Erica Lafayette scored 10 points.
The Knights will next face off against No. 16 Maryland on Monday at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus with tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on the Big Ten Network as well as 88.7 WRSU-FM.
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