No. 25 Women’s Hoops Continues Winning & Defensive Streaks in Victory at Penn State
The Scarlet Knights won their seventh consecutive game, holding six-straight under 60 points for the first time since 2007-08
Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 25 Rutgers women’s basketball (12-3, 8-3) ran the winning streak to seven with a 60-55 victory at Penn State (9-12, 6-11) at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday afternoon. The seven consecutive wins came directly after the program was put on a five-week pause from competition due to COVID-19 protocol.
The victory keeps the Scarlet Knights in the Top 4 of the Big Ten Conference, which if it holds, would secure a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament in March in Indianapolis. Rutgers has two games remaining the regular season schedule, including a rematch with the Nittany Lions on Tuesday at the RAC.
Defense was again the name of the game as Rutgers held a conference opponent under 60 points in six consecutive games for the first time since the 2007-08 Elite Eight squad. RU outscored PSU, 13-3, on points off turnovers with 10 steals and held Penn State to 37 percent from the floor.
“It was another gutsy win because we weren’t playing our best,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “Credit to Penn State, who was prepared and ran it down our throats. We had to stave them off. We didn’t have the performances that we would like on a consistent basis. We appreciate the composure we had to pull this one off.”
Mael Gilles led the Rutgers scoring effort with 16 points, one shy of a career high. Arella Guirantes (14 points, five assists) and Tekia Mack (12 points, six assists) each added double-figure scoring and standout ball distribution in the victory. Tyia Singleton grabbed 10 boards and led all players on the court with a plus-13 rating in her 26 minutes, playing with four fouls for much of the second half. Sakima Walker had a major impact on the boards in just 10 minutes, grabbing seven rebounds.
Singleton and Mack went back-and-forth during a crucial 10-0 scoring run midway through the fourth quarter. Singleton converted layups, while Mack did her damage from long distance, and RU turned a three-point deficit into a 52-45 lead with under four to play.
Gilles, Guirantes and Singleton all made buckets down the stretch as Penn State stayed within four points, but with RU consistently having an answer. Guirantes and Diamond Johnson each made a free throw in the final five seconds of play to ice the road victory.
Rutgers took control early with a 9-0 run bridging the first and second quarters. Guirantes had her hands on both ends of the rally with a bucket and an assist near the end of the first, and a successful three-point play early in the second for RU’s first double-digit lead of the day at 18-8. Mack, soon after, converted a layup on the fast break to complete a 13-1 scoring run.
Johnson, who exited three minutes into the game to an apparent injury, returned to swish a three-pointer with 4:06 ahead of the halftime for the 25-15 Rutgers advantage. Meanwhile, the defense locked down Penn State, who struggled from the floor shooting 22 percent and scored its lowest first-half total of the season with 17.
The Scarlet Knights committed just 10 turnovers and outscored PSU, 24-18, in the paint – the 14th time in 15 games this season with RU ahead in the painted block.
The Scarlet Knights continue the home-and-home doubleheader with the Nittany Lions at the RAC on Tuesday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
- This is the second seven-game winning streak for Rutgers in Big Ten play after starting the 2018-19 conference slate with seven consecutive wins.
- Rutgers held its sixth Big Ten foe in a row under 60 points. That is the longest streak in league play since the 2007-08 Elite Eight squad did it six times consecutively in the Big East.
- Tekia Mack grabbed three steals and continues to rank third in the nation with her 3.4 steals per game.
- Arella Guirantes has 1,605 career points, the 12th most of any player to wear the Scarlet Knights uniform.
- RU leads the Big Ten with 55.8 points allowed per game and a 22.3 average scoring margin.
- RU has outscored opponents in the paint in 14 of 15 games this season.
- RU improves to 9-0 when holding the lead at half.
- RU outscored PSU in points off turnovers, 10-3. The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents in points off turnovers by an average of 16.0 this year.
- Rutgers leads the all-time series, 29-18, and 10-1 in Big Ten regular season contests. The Scarlet Knights have won five-straight over the Nittany Lions.
- Holding the Nittany Lions under their scoring average of 75.1, Rutgers has accomplished that feat in 14 of 15 games this season and in 101 of its last 110 since the start of the 2017-18 season.
- C. Vivian Stringer rolled out the Starting Five of Diamond Johnson, Arella Guirantes, Mael Gilles, Tekia Mack and Tyia Singleton for the eighth time this season in consecutive games.