The Big Ten Network released their women's basketball television schedule earlier this week, featuring five premiere Rutgers games. The Scarlet Knights begin the season as the 23rd ranked team in the nation, but they will have plenty of opportunities to rise in the ranks.
Coach C. Vivian Stringer will lead the Scarlet Knights for her 21st season, opening up with consecutive road games. The season kicks off November 13th as Rutgers will take on Temple in Philadelphia, followed by a rematch of last year's NCAA tournament first round battle against instate rival Seton Hall on November 16th.
Next, the team will spend Thanksgiving playing in St. Thomas' Paradise Jam, an annual preseason college basketball invitational tournament, where they will face Tulane, Virginia, and Green Bay.
Rutgers' first televised game will have them facing off against LSU at the RAC on December 19th. Last year, Rutgers beat the Tigers 64-57, as their defense force LSU to commit 13 turnovers in the second half alone. The next televised game will be an away matchup with a homecoming feel, as Coach Stringer returns to Iowa to face her former team of twelve years on January 4th.
Throughout the season, the Scarlet Knights will face premiere talent in their Big Ten games, especially when facing Ohio State (January 10th and 24th) and Michigan State (January 19th and February 18th). Ohio State is powered by sophomore Kelsey Mitchell, who won the Big Ten Player of the Year last year, which Michigan State is led by Aerial Powers, a two year All-Big Ten Honors recipient. However, neither of these matchups compare to that of the faceoff against Maryland on February 21st, airing on ESPN2. The Terps are coming off back-to-back NCAA Tournament Final Four appearances, as well as the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Returning to lead the charge is Maryland junior center Brionna Jones, also a first-team selection.
Clearly, Rutgers will have a tough time battling for supremacy in the Big Ten. But are our Scarlet Knights up to the task? I will be providing my predictions closer to the beginning of the season, so stay tuned!
Click HERE for the full women's basketball schedule.