Women’s Hoops Win Streak Stretches to Four in Rout of Minnesota
Credit Source: Rutgers University Athletics
Diamond Johnson hits 6-of-7 from Three-Point Land to take NCAA lead in shooting from distance
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers women’s basketball (9-3, 5-3) won its fourth consecutive Big Ten game by double-digits, holding down Minnesota (7-10, 6-9) by a score of 83-56 on Wednesday evening in the RAC.
Diamond Johnson scored a career-high 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. She connected on 6-of-7 from beyond the arc to increase her three-point shooting percentage to .537, the highest in NCAA Division I. Arella Guirantes added 22 points and seven assists, while Tekia Mack netted 12 points to go with her eight boards and a career-high eight steals, tying a RAC record for a single-game.
“We try to mix our defense up, and the last few games, I feel like it wasn’t aggressive enough,” said Mack, whose eight steals were the most by a Scarlet Knights since 2015. “I took the initiative to put the press on (I ran it by Coach first), and we made them play in the backcourt. That’s our basketball and our way of playing defense.”
The Scarlet Knights outscored the Golden Gophers, 35-9, on points off turnovers as Minnesota coughed the ball up 22 times at the RAC on Wednesday. The defensive intensity was matched by offensive accuracy as RU shot 54 percent from the floor, 56 percent from three (9-of-16) and 80 percent from the free throw line (12-of-16).
“I like the energy, the attitude, the defense and the willingness to share the ball,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “We did the things we needed to do, and that was the magical recipe for success. The gold standard is limiting our turnovers and forcing the opponent into them.”
Rutgers followed the recipe early, forcing two turnovers on the Gophers’ first two possessions and turning them into points on the other end. RU made its first three shots from the field. Johnson led the charge with 10 in the opening period. The Philadelphia native then sparked a 9-0 spurt with another four points near the halftime buzzer to cushion the RU lead, 36-26. The Scarlet Knights shot 52 percent while forcing nine Gopher turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Guirantes bookended a 10-0 rally in the third to push the lead over 20. Freshmen Sakima Walker and Chyna Cornwell each converted a bucket and a pair of free throws, while junior transfer Destiny Marshall scored four fourth-quarter points in the victory.
The Scarlet Knights remain at the RAC to face Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 12 p.m. on Big Ten Network.
- Rutgers scored 80 or more points for the third time in a Big Ten game this season. Before this year, the program had three total 80-plus-point games in six seasons (one in 2017-18 and two in 2014-15).
- Tekia Mack tied a RAC record with eight steals, the most in any Rutgers game since Syessence Davis had 10 at Penn State in Jan. 2015 (the school record).
- Rutgers came into the game ranked 13th in the nation with a .475 field goal percentage and will trend upward after shooting 54 percent vs. Minnesota.
- Diamond Johnson has scored in double-digits in all 12 games and now leads the nation with her .537 three-point shooting (36-of-67). The Rutgers school record is .488 for a season by Cappie Pondexter in 2005-06.
- Arella Guirantes has 1,556 career points, the 12th most of any player to wear the Scarlet Knights uniform.
- RU leads the Big Ten with 56.8 points allowed per game and a 22.9 average scoring margin.
- Rutgers is 7-0 when holding the lead at halftime.
- RU has outscored opponents in the paint in 11 of 12 games this season.
- RU outscored Minnesota in points off turnovers, 35-9. The Scarlet Knights have outscored opponents in points off turnovers by an average of 16.6 this year.
- Rutgers leads the all-time series 6-4 overall and 5-4 as Big Ten regular season opponents. The home team is a perfect 10-0 in the series.
- Holding the Gophers under their scoring average of 70.4, Rutgers has accomplished that feat in 11 of 12 games this season and in 97 of its last 106 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 fifth time this season in consecutive games.