Through 12 games this season, the Rutgers women’s basketball team currently sits 13th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten Conference.
The Scarlet Knights (5-7, 0-2) started off their season on a high note with a gritty 73-68 home victory over cross-state opponent Hofstra. Rutgers dropped its next game to in-state rival Seton Hall by a score of 75-57. Two bounce-back wins against NJIT and North Carolina Central brought the Knights’ record to 3-1.
The team’s trip to Paradise Island in the Bahamas, for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament tripped them up and it lost all three of its games. One of those games ended with Rutgers losing by more than 38 points.
The Knights headed back to Piscataway to defeat Cornell and then traveled to Newton, Massachusetts, where they lost to Boston College in the ACC/B1G Challenge.
The schedule wasn’t going to get much easier as Rutgers faced off against its first two Big Ten opponents. Against then-No.4 Ohio State, the Knights battled and stayed in the game against a tough competitor, but they ultimately fell to the Buckeyes by a score of 82-70. In the next game, Rutgers headed to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, for a date with Illinois for its Big Ten road opener but lost again by a score of 80-62.
Heading back to where the team notched all of four wins, the Knights added another home victory against Hampton last weekend by a score of 76-68. It was a nice team win with contributions coming from multiple different players.
At this point in the season, it remains to be seen where Rutgers stands compared to the rest of its conference. The Knights have won all five of their games against out-of-conference teams, but they have taken a backseat to their more difficult foes.
Having 8 players total on the team has presented itself as a challenge for Rutgers. Most of the teams they have played against have outnumbered the Knights by 3-5 players, which means opposing players can rest longer and stay fresh as the game goes on. Only having three bench players has forced Rutgers to use many substitutions throughout the game.
At this point in the season, the Knights' average points per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage are all less than its opponent's points per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage. Rutgers’ free-throw percentage is higher than its competitors, as it has made 168 of 222 shots from the stripe for a 75.7 percent success rate.
Turnovers have also hurt the Knights. Rutgers has committed 252 total turnovers through its handful of matchups, which is the equivalent of 21 turnovers a game. In comparison, opponents have only turned the ball over a total of 181 times, which is 15.1 turnovers a game.
If the Knights want to compete in a tough conference, they will need to step it up and get back on their feet as their in-conference schedule looms.
Rutgers will stay in Piscataway for two home matchups this week against in-state rival Princeton on Thursday and New Orleans on Sunday. After almost two weeks to regroup, the Knights will play against the Big Ten for the rest of the season, starting with a road test against Penn State on December 30.
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