Tuesday marked the beginning of the 2018-2019 season for the Rutgers women’s basketball team and they opened with a dominant performance. They disposed of St. Francis (PA) easily, jumping out to a 50-24 halftime lead before ultimately winning by the final score of 96-52. Six players scored in double figures and the team grabbed a program record 73 rebounds in the victory.
Senior forward Caitlin Jenkins posted 15 points and 15 rebounds, while freshman guard Noga Peleg Pelc ties her with a team best 15 points in her collegiate debut. Texas Tech transfer and redshirt sophomore Arella Guirantes contributed with 14 points. Sophomore forward Mael Gilles was one of three players with a double double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 16 points, while senior forward Stash Carey was another, producing 13 points and 11 boards on the night. Heralded true freshman Zippy Broughton added 11 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals in her first college game.
As a team, Rutgers shot 44.6% from the field and 72.2% from the free throw line on 36 attempts. They had 9 blocks, had a staggering +44 rebounding margin and held the active leading scorer in women’s college basketball from last season in Jessica Kovatch (24.4 ppg) to just 12 points on 3 of 18 shooting from the field.
One thing to point out for Rutgers is that starting point guard KK Sanders and ballyhooed Ohio State grad transfer Sierra Calhoun did not play. Sanders has a wrist issue, while Calhoun is dealing with an ankle injury. Sophomore wing Tekia Mack is also out with an elbow issue. All three players will be reevaluated later this week and Calhoun is expected back first. It was also announced that redshirt junior forward Ciani Cryor will miss the first ten games due to a violation of team rules.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer now has 998 career victories. Rutgers returns to action this Friday at noon against Stony Brook at the RAC.