The Rutgers women’s basketball team wrapped up its third full week of play on Saturday with a 59-47 win over Siena. After starting the season at 4-0, C. Vivian Stringer’s team hit some adversity in losses to defending national champion South Carolina, as well as a defeat to Washington State last week. However, the Scarlet Knights have rebounded with two consecutive victories and are now 7-2 on the season, already having surpassed last season’s win total (6) in early December. Let’s get caught up on all of the action for the program from the past two weeks.
Rutgers hosted Wake Forest (3-5) in their home opener two weeks ago from today and won 65-51. Tyler Scaife was the only player for the Scarlet Knights to score in double figures (19 points). She went an impressive 9-15 from the field. Defense was also a key for the women in the victory. They forced 24 Wake Forest turnovers. They would go on to win by a final score of 65-51 to improve to 4-0 on the season. For the first time in several seasons, Rutgers received votes in the weekly AP Poll.
After a couple days off for Thanksgiving, Rutgers traveled to Estero, FL to play in the Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament. Their first matchup on the tournament was against the defending national champions and then third-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (7-1). The Scarlet Knights kept it close through the entire game. They only trailed by five after one quarter, seven at half and seven after three. However, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson was too much and scored a game-high 33 points on 9-15 shooting from the field. South Carolina went on to win 78-68, handing Rutgers its first loss of the season. Three players scored in double figures for the women’s team in this close loss. Scaife led them with 20 points on 9-21 shooting from the field. Tekia Mack scored 13 points and Jazlynd Rollins scored 10 points.
Rutgers played a consolation game against Western Michigan (4-4) on Saturday. It was a shaky start, as Rutgers trailed 20-12 at the end of the first quarter. The ladies would then outscore Western Michigan 43-25 over the next two quarters en route to a 75-64 victory to improve to 5-1 on the season. Once again, Tyler Scaife stole the show with her performance (29 points on 10-16 shooting). Caitlin Jenkins recorded a double-double in this game (17 points, 12 rebounds) on 8-10 shooting.
Unfortunately, Rutgers lost its second game in three days in the fifth place game against Washington State (4-4), falling 63-60. Despite forcing 22 turnovers and three players scoring in double figures, led by Scaife with 12 points, Rutgers struggled shooting the basketball, making just 35% of its shots from the field. They fell to 5-2 on the season.
This past week, the Scarlet Knights have rebounded with two consecutive wins. After three days off in between games, Rutgers recovered in time to knock off N.C. State (6-2) at the RAC on Thursday night by the score of 57-53. It was a part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Tyler Scaife proved once again what a star she is for this team, as she led the way with a game high 27 points on 11 of 23 shooting from the field. No one else in scarlet scored more than 7 points in the game, although Stasha Carey led the team with 9 rebounds and 4 blocks.
Yesterday, Rutgers defeated Siena (3-4) at the RAC by the score of 59-47. Scaife produced a game high 18 points, while guard Ciani Cryor came off the bench to add 10 points, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.
Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media reported this past week that Rutgers star Tyler Scaife sat out last season due to undergoing open heart surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. It’s an amazing story that’s worth the read. Thankfully, Scaife is fully recovered and feeling much better after taking a medical redshirt last season. Scaife is leading Rutgers with 19.9 points per game and minutes played with 25.3 per game. She is also shooting 47% from the field and is the true leader of this team.
It’s been a good start to the season for head coach C. Vivian Stringer off the court as well. As we previously reported, the program signed it’s second nationally rated recruit for the 2018 class soon after Stringer received a contract extension right before the season began. At 7-2, Stringer’s team has already exceeded last year’s win total and is off to its best start in the first nine games of a season since 2014-2015.
There is little rest for the Rutgers women’s basketball team, as they are back in action for its third game in five days on Monday night, when they host Virginia (4-5) at the RAC. The game will be broadcast live on BTN at 6:00 p.m. After that Rutgers continues its long home stand with hosting Seton Hall at the RAC for a Friday matinee at 2 p.m.