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Rutgers Women's Basketball: An Unhappy Homecoming

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
The Rutgers women's basketball team carried in an impressive five-game win streak into #25 Iowa last night. This game had implications in both Rutgers' quest for notoriety throughout the nation as a legitimate threat, while still having a sentimental feel. Coach Stringer made her return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena after coaching the team from 1983-1995.

This was a close battle from the tip, as each team traded points in the opening minutes. Led by guard Tyler Scaife, the Scarlet Knights held a slight edge at the end of the first quarter, 19-18.

The Hawkeyes came roaring back with a 9-0 run in the second quarter, led by Iowa guard Alexa Kastanek. A great hustle play by Scaife intercepting a pass at mid-court to lead to a Victoria Harris fast break seemed to swing the momentum back in Rutgers' favor. Kahleah Copper got in on the action as her jumper got going, contributing 11 points in the first half and helping Rutgers to a 37-35 lead going into halftime. This first half effort also added to Copper's illustrious Rutgers career, as she jumped in to the top 10 in scoring and earned her 1,500 point.

Starting off the second half, it was Rachel Hollivay who provided a spark for the Scarlet Knights, contributing 8 consecutive points to give Rutgers a 45-40 lead in the 3rd quarter. After Hollivay had to go to the bench with her third foul, Iowa began to make a run, taking a 56-50 lead. A Scaife three-pointer cut the deficit in half, but the third quarter ended with Rutgers trailing 56-53.

Rutgers regained the lead 57-56, to start the fourth quarter, led by Copper. The two teams continued to battle, with several lead changes in the final minutes of the game. Rutgers was able to close the gap to 68-65 with just over a minute left to go, but Iowa was able to close the game off strong for a 69-65 victory.

It was a well-fought game against a tough opponent on the road, and the Scarlet Knights and their fans definitely have reasons for optimism moving forward! Rutgers will look to get back into the W column on Thursday night when they take on Wisconsin at the RAC.