The Rutgers women's basketball team is gearing up for the start of the 2023-2024 season. The Scarlet Knights will tip things off on November 6 at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus against Monmouth.
Rutgers has a lot to look forward to with head coach Coquese Washington entering her second season on the Banks. Sophomore guard Kaylene Smikle is also returning and is expected to be a key contributor this year. Smikle made the All-Big Ten Second Team her freshman season.
While there is a talent like Smikle returning, Washington has also bolstered the Knights' depth in the transfer portal. Last year's team only had eight players on the roster, whereas this year, Rutgers has 11 players on its roster.
Among those 11 players are two newly acquired transfers, junior guard and forward Destiny Adams and sophomore guard Mya Petticord. Both players are high-level talents who should get minutes right away.
Adams hails from Manchester, New Jersey, but played her first two seasons of college basketball at North Carolina before announcing her return to her home state to play for the Knights. Adams is still adjusting to the switch but is happy to be home.
"It's been great," Adams said. "It’s a big change, big culture change, but I’ve loved every single second of it. And I’m really glad that I’m back home."
Petticord played high school basketball in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and played her freshman season at Texas A&M before finding a home on the Banks. Petticord is excited to get to work for Rutgers as it was a team she considered joining out of high school.
"Rutgers was my top five in high school. I already visited here, so I kind of already had the feeling," Petticord said. "I have family down here as well, so it’s pretty much home for me."
Looking ahead to the Knights' performances on the court, Washington believes her team needs to limit turnovers to be successful.
"If we could improve our turnover numbers, I think we could score more points and put ourselves in a position to win more games down the stretch," Washington said.
This improvement will start with the play of Petticord and Smikle, as the pair will likely take a lot of the ball-handling duties. With a head coach like Washington, who is a former point guard herself, Rutgers' guards should be put in better positions to increase assists and limit turnovers.
Rutgers did not win the exhibition game, but an out-of-conference test against a top opponent like the Gamecocks should help the team's experience in the long run.
Washington spoke about the game as well as the rest of the demanding out-of-conference schedule that the Knights will face this season.
"We've got some tests early on," Washington said. "It's important that we focus on us and our progression."
Progression will be crucial for Rutgers and Washington in year two of her coaching tenure.
"We're not looking for perfection, we're looking for progression," Washington said.
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