Five in February! Streak Continues as Women’s Hoops Tops Illini 

Five in February! Streak Continues as Women’s Hoops Tops Illini 

Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics

Nine Scarlet Knights score points in a 75-46 victory at the RAC 

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers women’s basketball (10-3, 6-3) ran the winning streak to five in a 75-46 defeat of Illinois (3-15, 1-14) at the RAC on Saturday afternoon.

Nine Scarlet Knights scored points in a defensive-fueled victory featuring 26 forced turnovers and 18 steals. On the other end, Rutgers passed out 19 assists for its most helpers in a Big Ten game since January of 2019 – powered by Tekia Mack’s career-high eight assists.

Arella Guirantes led all scorers with 24 points on an efficient 11-of-17 shooting, while Diamond Johnson joined the double-decade party with 20 of her own on the strength of 4-of-8 shooting from three-point land. Johnson, who has made four or more three-pointers in five consecutive contests, continues to rank second in the nation with her .533 percentage from distance.

“It’s all about hard work at this time of the year,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “The press takes a lot of energy, the practice in the gym takes dedication. The defense is key for us, and we’ve been known for that and it’s paying dividends right now.”

Another hot 3-of-3 start from the field set the pace for another rout at the RAC. RU then turned up the defense and forced the Illini into four turnovers over the final three minutes of the opening period, as they finished scoreless over that span and trailed 20-13 after 10 minutes. A 10-0 Rutgers run in second during a six-minute Illinois scoring drought stretched to nearly eight minutes without a field goal for the visitors.

Guirantes scored six points in a minute surrounding a Johnson three-pointer for a 9-0 rally in the third quarter for the 55-27 lead. Freshman Liz Martino finished a fast break layup early in the fourth for the largest lead of the day at 32, which was held tight throughout the fourth quarter by a strong performance from Stephanie Guihon (four points), Chyna Cornwell (three rebounds), Erica Lafayette (three boards, two points) and Destiny Marshall (two points, one steal).

“We’re starting to get our chemistry and our feel for the game now. We learned a lot about ourselves during the break. We have a standard on this team, and we’re still not all the way there. Once the team starts thinking like that, you know something special can happen.

The Scarlet Knights head back out on the road next week at Michigan State on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and at Penn State on Sunday, Feb. 28.


  • Diamond Johnson has hit four or more three-point field goals in five consecutive games.
  • Tekia Mack set a new career-high with eight assists.
  • Tekia Mack grabbed five steals and continues to rank Top 5 in the nation with her 3.6 steals per game.
  • Rutgers came into the game ranked 13th in the nation with a .475 field goal percentage and will trend upward after shooting .478 percent vs. Illinois.
  • Diamond Johnson has scored in double-digits in all 13 games and still ranks second in the nation with her .533 three-point shooting (40-of-75). The Rutgers school record is .488 for a season by Cappie Pondexter in 2005-06.
  • Aicha Ndour made her collegiate debut in the fourth quarter.
  • Arella Guirantes has 1,580 career points, the 12th most of any player to wear the Scarlet Knights uniform.
  • RU leads the Big Ten with 56.0 points allowed per game and a 23.3 average scoring margin.
  • Rutgers is 8-0 when holding the lead at halftime.
  • RU has outscored opponents in the paint in 12 of 13 games this season.
  • RU outscored Illinois in points off turnovers, 24-8. The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents in points off turnovers by an average of 16.5 this year.
  • Rutgers improved to 7-1 at home this season, and 47-8 (.855) since the start of the 2017-18 season.
  • Rutgers leads the all-time series over Illinois, 8-1, all in Big Ten regular season competition. RU has won five straight in the series, and moves to 5-0 at the RAC.
  • Holding the Illini under their scoring average of 59.8, Rutgers has accomplished that feat in 12 of 13 games this season and in 98 of its last 107 since the start of the 2017-18 season.
  • C. Vivian Stringer rolled out the Starting Five of Diamond JohnsonArella GuirantesMael GillesTekia Mack and Tyia Singleton for the sixth time this season in consecutive games.

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