Game 11 Preview: Rutgers Women’s Basketball at Purdue
Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers women’s basketball (7-3, 3-3) plays another one on the road Sunday, Feb. 14 at Purdue (6-10, 3-9) for a 2 p.m. ET tip-off on Big Ten Network+.
Despite a 35-day layoff, the Scarlet Knights have won back-to-back games in their return by 16-points apiece over Nebraska and No. 21/20 Northwestern. RU is ranked No. 13 in the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings, a new selection guide for at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament valuing offensive and defensive efficiency alongside results-oriented data. In December, Rutgers scored 80 or more points in five consecutive games for the first time since 1990-91 and matched that intensity on the defensive end. RU currently leads the Big Ten with 14.2 steals per game while ranking sixth in scoring margin at +22.9.
- The Boilermakers (6-10, 3-9) have lost four straight after a 56-55 win against Wisconsin on Jan. 21.
- Purdue’s defense is holding opponents to 67.3 points per game at home, 10.3 points better than their defensive average on the road.
- Kayana Traylor dropped her 12th game in double figures this season, topping 10 points in three of the last four outings. The junior is averaging 7.4 points better than her sophomore campaign and has led the Boilermakers in scoring eight times this season.
- Madison Layden is the lone freshman in the Big Ten and one of eight from across the nation with at least 45 assists and 35 steals this season. The rookie is currently averaging 2.3 swipes per game, which ranks second in the freshmen season record list.
- The post duo of Ra Shaya Kyle and Fatou Diagne have teamed up to attempt 93 of Purdue’s free throws, just 10 more than Traylor’s team-high 83.
- Rokia Doumbia became the ninth different Boilermaker to score at least 10 points in a game, after her 10-point performance off the bench against Michigan. The transfer from Arkansas also matched her career high with three steals.
- Madison Layden has knocked down a 3-pointer in 14 games, all consecutive, tying for eighth in the nation among all freshmen.
NET WORKING: On Jan. 4, Rutgers was listed No. 13 in the first-ever NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings, which replace RPI as a guide for selecting at-large bids for the NCAA Tournament. The NET rankings take into account Adjusted Net Efficiency (offensive vs. defensive points per possession weighted on quality of opponent) and Team Value Index (results-oriented). RU remains at No. 13 as of Feb. 13 following a pair of 16-point wins over Nebraska and No. 21/20 Northwestern in their return to the court after a five-week COVID-19-related hiatus.
ARELLA RISING: Redshirt senior guard Arella Guirantes is on five national watch lists: the Wooden Award for Most Outstanding Player, the Naismith Trophy and Wade Trophy for National Player of the Year, a Top 10 semifinalist for the Meyers Shooting Guard Award, and the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Only Player to rank Top 5 in Big Ten in scoring, assists, blocks & steals
Triple-double on Dec. 23 vs. Manhattan (6th in RU history) with 17 points, 10 rebounds & 11 assists
Two 30+ point performances vs. No. 14 Maryland and RV Iowa
SHINE ON: True freshman Diamond Johnson, the No. 6 overall recruit in the nation according to ESPN, is one of 10 named to the Nancy Lieberman Award Watch List semifinalists for the country’s top point guard. The Neumann Goretti product earned Rutgers’ first ever Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor on Dec. 21. Johnson has scored in double-figures in all 10 of her games and has scored 14 or more in six consecutive contests.
Ranks 5th in the NCAA with a .500 three-point shooting percentage (26-52).
MACK ATTACK: Senior wing Tekia Mack returned from an injury on Dec. 31 and has played in every minute since returning (4 games). Mack scored a career-high 26 points in the 78-62 victory against Nebraska and added her fifth career double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) in the win at No. 21/20 Northwestern.
THOU SHALL STEAL: Rutgers ranks third in the country with 14.2 steals per game and is fourth in the nation in turnover margin at 8.4 through 10 games. Three Scarlet Knights make up the Top 5 in the Big Ten in steals per game with Tekia Mack (3.0), Arella Guirantes (2.7) and Mael Gilles (2.5). RU’s 22 steals at Wisconsin were its most in a game since 23 against FDU in 2017 and the most in a conference game since 22 against Penn State in 2015.
THAT’S OFFENSIVE: Rutgers scored 80 or more points in five consecutive games for the first time in the C. Vivian Stringer era “On the Banks” – the first time since the 1990-91 season. The Scarlet Knights rank sixth in the nation in scoring margin through eight games at +23.7, scoring 80.9 points per game (19th in the nation).
WELCOME TO THE B1G: Rutgers is one of the youngest teams in the nation with eight newcomers and 71 percent of the roster starting the season with two years experience or less in Division I. RU is one of just 32 teams across the nation with 10 or more players on the roster with two years experience or less.
FUTURE IS NOW: C. Vivian Stringer and her staff have secured the No. 8 nationally ranked recruiting class for 2020 according to ESPN, led by the signing of No. 6 ranked prospect Diamond Johnson out of Neumann Goretti in Philadelphia, one of four recruits ranked in the Top 55 – Sakima Walker (#21), Chyna Cornwell (#48) and Liz Martino (#53). Blue Star Basketball ranks the class No. 5 in the nation.
- Rutgers’ win at No. 21/20 Northwestern was its first ranked road win since a 73-65 victory at No. 4 Maryland on Dec. 31, 2018.
• In consecutive games,Tyia Singletonset new career highs in rebounding (11 vs. Nebraska) and point scoring (17 vs. Northwestern).
• Arella Guirantes has made 23 consecutive free throws going into the Purdue game.
• Tekia Mack scored a career-high 26 points in the win over Nebraska on Feb. 7, shooting 8-of-10 on two-point field goals.
• Currently graded .781 from the charity stripe, RU is strongly challenging its single-season free throw percentage record of .734 set during the 1980-81 season.
• RU has outscored opponents in the paint in nine of 10 games this season.
• RU is 5-0 with a lead at halftime.
• The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents by an average of 16.6 in points off turnovers (27.9 – 11.3).
• Rutgers scored 80 or more points in five consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 squad scored 80-plus in five straight wins in January of a 23-7 campaign.
• Arella Guirantes has four career 30+ point games, all against Big Ten opponents.
• RU’s 87 points against Maryland were the most scored on the Terps since 88 in 1978.
• RU’s 87 points against Maryland were Rutgers’ most in a Big Ten game since joining the conference in 2014-15 … and most in a conference game since 90 vs. Seton Hall in the Big East in 2013.
• Guirantes’ 30+point double-double vs. Maryland was Rutgers’ first since Kahleah Copper had 30 and 10 against St. Joseph’s on Nov. 13, 2015.
• With Diamond Johnson at 17.8 points per game, a look at the Top 5 freshman scoring averages in team history:
- 1. Cappie Pondexter (02-03) – 18.3ppg
- 2. Patti Sikorski (76-77) – 15.8ppg
- T3. Kathy Glutz (76-77) – 15.5ppg
- T3. June Olkowski (78-79) – 15.5ppg
- 5. Sue Wicks (84-85) – 14.9 ppg
- Team: Steals/gm (3rd – 14.2)
• Team: Turnover margin (4th – 8.4)
•Diamond Johnson: 3FG% (5th – .500)
• Team: Scoring margin (6th – 22.9)
• Team: Turnovers forced (9th – 21.6)
•Arella Guirantes: FT% (11th – .912)
• Team: FG% (13th – .475)
• Team: FT% (16th – .781)
• Team: Scoring offense (19th – 79.8)
• Team: 3ptFG% (20th – .372)
• Arella Guirantes: Pts/gm (24th – 21.2)
• Team: Blocks/gm (25th – 5.1)