Rutgers Women’s Hoops Returns With a Win Over Huskers
Tekia Mack’s career-day powers a coast-to-coast victory
Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers women’s basketball (6-3, 2-3) returned to the court in style with a 78-62 Big Ten victory over Nebraska (9-7, 7-6) on Sunday afternoon at the RAC.
Coincidentally, Rutgers played Nebraska in consecutive games, having been shut down since the Jan. 3 game in Lincoln. This February iteration produced a better result for the Scarlet Knights after the 53-50 setback at Pinnacle Bank Arena 35 days ago. The Scarlet Knights’ 78 points were the most scored by either team in this 10-game series dating back to 2015, surpassing RU’s 69 in a January 2020 win. The 16-point margin of victory was also the largest in the series.
The Scarlet Knights never trailed in the contest, which saw Rutgers leading by double-digits at the end of each quarter. Picking up where they left off, the nation’s top ranked steals team swiped 13 against the Huskers and forced 19 turnovers compared to just 10 of their own. The ball security imbalance on Sunday is indicative of the early-season success that propelled RU into the Top 20 of the NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings, coming into the game ranked third in the nation in turnover margin at +9.4.
Tekia Mack produced monster numbers all over the floor with a career-high 26 points, adding five boards, four assists, four steals and two blocks. Freshman Diamond Johnson added 22, her third game with more than 20, and Arella Guirantes chipped in 17 with a game-high six assists.
“It was worth the wait,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “Tekia and Arella did everything we needed them to do as leaders of this team, and Diamond certainly didn’t look like a freshman out there. For us to come together like this after not being able to play, I’m confident we’ll be hitting our stride real soon when it counts the most.”
Tyia Singleton grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to go with her six points.
Rutgers’ first basket since Jan. 3 was scored by Mack from beyond the arc just over a minute into the game, and the Scarlet Knights never looked back. Johnson scored five points during an 11-0 run to send RU to an early 15-4 lead with 3:55 to play in the opening period.
The Huskers got within four after an 8-0 spurt midway through the second, but Johnson put a quick stop to that with three-pointers on back-to-back possessions for the 38-28 lead. The Scarlet Knights went on to lead by as many as 18 in the third period with under four minutes to play. Nebraska got as close as eight the rest of the way.
RU overcame a 31-28 rebounding deficit with a 30-22 advantage in points in the paint and an 11-5 edge on the fast break.
The Scarlet Knights will continue to work with the Big Ten to possibly reschedule postponed games. For now, the next date on the calendar is a trip to No. 22/20 Northwestern on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 4 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
- Rutgers continues to lead the nation in steals per game at 15.2 per game.
- Tekia Mack scored a career-high 26 points, surpassing her 24 from sophomore year – Feb. 18, 2019 at Indiana.
- In all 10 games played in this series, Rutgers’ 78 points on Sunday were the most scored in a game. It passes RU’s 69 from their January 2020 win.
- The 16-point margin of victory was also the largest in the series, taking over Nebraska’s 11-point victory in 2016.
- The all-time series moves to 6-4 in Rutgers’ favor and a 5-4 edge as Big Ten regular season opponent. Rutgers leads 4-1 when the head-to-head is played at the RAC.
- Tekia Mack, Mael Gilles and Diamond Johnson all played 40 minutes in the win. Arella Guirantes was just 33 seconds shy of a 40-minute game.
- Singleton, a redshirt sophomore, grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds, passing her previous best of eight from Dec. 20 of this season.
- Rutgers improves to 45-8 (.849) at the RAC since the start of the 2017-18 season.
- Arella Guirantes has 1,489 career points, the 14th most of any player to wear the Scarlet Knights uniform.
- C. Vivian Stringer rolled out the Starting Five of Diamond Johnson, Arella Guirantes, Mael Gilles, Tekia Mack and Tyia Singleton for the second time this season.