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Rutgers Women’s Basketball team leaves Vancouver with a win

Team is up and down in three game holiday festival.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Rutgers vs Ohio State
Coach Stringer’s troops righted the ship with a win Saturday.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Rutgers Women’s Basketball team broke out their passports for a trip all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia for three games in the Vancouver Showcase over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The tournament field featured some stiff competition as detailed in Aaron’s preview.

Thursday: Drake 69, Rutgers 59

It was a tale of two halves on “American” Turkey Day. The Scarlet Knights came out hot including a 13-0 run, rushing out to a 20-6 edge after one quarter of play. The Bulldogs were able to prevent the lead from getting too big and Rutgers held a 44-29 halftime advantage, but was far from on cruise control. The second half was another story as Drake completely locked down the defense and outscored RU by 25 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters for a 10 point victory.

It was the the Scarlet Knights’ first loss of the season and really exposed Rutgers’s lack of ball handling. Starting point guard KK Sanders remained out and prized recruit Zippy Broughton returned in a limited capacity. Grad transfer Sierra Calhoun returned from an injury herself and actually led the team with 32 minutes played, but shot just 2-11 from the field, including 2-9 from downtown. Drake had 11 turnovers and 20 assists, while RU had 16 TO to just 12 assists. The lone bright spot when all was said and done was Stasha Carey’s 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

Friday: Gonzaga 57, Rutgers 40

The Bulldogs traveled a much shorter distance from Spokane, WA for the event, but were doled their first loss of the season by #1 ranked Notre Dame in their opener. Gonzaga and Rutgers both hoped to rebound from their first setbacks of the campaign with tough defense. The game stood tied at 21 as the teams went to halftime, but for the second consecutive day, Rutgers was smoked in the second half.

Individually, Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer elected to shorten the bench as just nine players saw action in the contest despite four players being in serious foul trouble in the second half. Victoria Harris was the only player to crack double figured with 12 points adding four rebounds. Harris, Carey, and Arella Guirantes had four fouls each while Noga Peleg Pelc was disqualified with five. Out of character for an RU squad, they were outrebounded 36-26, the only significant team statistical margin in the game.

Saturday: Rutgers 68, East Tennessee State 44

As both teams played their third game in three days, the Scarlet Knights came out energized in the first quarter racing to a 31-10 edge at the end of the first frame. ETSU must have figured something out because they held RU to just four points with 11 turnovers (not a misprint) in the second quarter, but RU still maintained a 35-21 edge as the teams headed to the locker room. Rutgers finally poured it on in the 4th quarter to leave Canada with a win.

RU turned the ball over 26 times, but shot a blistering 57% from the field, including 8-16 from three point territory. Charise Wilson led the team with 17 points, joined by Carey and Guirantes in double figures. Harris only had six points, but added 10 rebounds and five steals to pace the Scarlet Knights.

Next up

Once Rutgers (5-2) returns to the states, they will play at Virginia Tech (6-0) on Wednesday, November 28th as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.