It was a season that started out strong and with great promise.
But Rutgers Women’s Basketball now enters the post-season looking to salvage what ever it can from a season full of “what could have beens”.
The ninth-seeded Knights open the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday with a noon game against No. 8 Purdue at Bankers Life Field House in Indianapolis.
Ohio State (24-6, 13-3 B1G) secured the outright Big Ten Championship on Sunday with its 89-64 win at Penn State. The Buckeyes collect their second consecutive conference title and 16th Big Ten women’s basketball crown, the most of any conference school. They also receive the No. 1 seed for the Big Ten Tournament.
Rutgers finished the regular season 19-11, 7-9 B1G, but ended the season losing eight of ten. That contrasts with the strong start it had in non-conference play as it opened 12-2 before Big Ten play began. At the start of the season, the Knights were one of the top scoring teams in RU women’s history, averaging over 70 points per game. They finished averaging just over 65. In Big Ten play, they scored 70 or more only three times.
Opening against Purdue (18-12, 9-7 B1G) is going to be a challenge. The teams split their two games, Rutgers winning at home, 58-50 in late December and then losing on the road, 47-33. That second game on January 10 may have been the low point of the season for the Knights. It was their lowest point total all year in a game where they shot an abysmal 27% from the field; the Boilermakers only shot 33%.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face No. 1 seed Ohio State. The Buckeyes topped RU, 90-68 three weeks ago and bested Purdue, 73-60 nine days ago. Rutgers’ RPI sits at 43, but it would seem to be very unlikely that the Knights would get an invitation to the NCAA Tournament unless they won the Big Ten title or, at the very least, did some serious damage moving through this weekend.
All 13 games of this year’s Big Ten Tournament will be televised live to a national audience, with games on the first three days (first round through quarterfinals) broadcast live on BTN2Go (available to authenticated BTN subscribers) as well as through several Regional Sports Networks around the country (check local listings for times and availability). BTN will also carry Saturday’s semifinals live on its linear network, as well as through its BTN2Go platform. Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game will be televised live on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN platform.