After 13 days off since its last game, the Rutgers women’s basketball team were trailing 47-32 with 3:47 to play in the third quarter in Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Wisconsin. Soon after, point guard KK Sanders made a three-pointer and the Scarlet Knights outscored the Badgers 32-14 the rest of the way to stun the hosts 64-61. The Badgers dropped to 8-4 overall, while Rutgers is 11-1 and off to the best start in the 25 year tenure of C. Vivian Stringer on the banks. It’s also the best start for the program since RU began the 1990-1991 season with a record of 13-0.
Arella Guirantes missed her first seven shots of the game, but still led Rutgers with 22 points (7-24 FG), 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and 5 steals. She also scored the final four points to clinch the victory from the free throw line. Guirantes leads the Big Ten in scoring with 19.2 points per game.
Tekia Mack finished with 17 points on 7 of 12 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. KK Sanders, who also made a jumper and a steal leading to a Zippy Broughton basket that started the comeback with a 9-2 run, finished the game with 11 points (5-12 FG), 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists.
Of note, Baylor transfer and former 5-star recruit Alexis Morris was cleared to play on Saturday after sitting out due to transfer rules. She had 2 rebounds and 2 steals after missing both shots in 11 minutes of action.
As a team, Rutgers shot 40.6% from the floor while holding Wisconsin to just 35.2%. Both sides made 3 of 10 from behind the arc (30%), but the Scarlet Knights were 9 of 10 from the free throw line, while the Badgers left points on the board, making 20 of 29 attempts for 69%. RU held a 42-30 advantage with points in the paint and a 12-3 edge in fast break points.
Rutgers has now held opponents under their scoring average in every game but one this season, as well as 41 of its last 44 contests. They held the Badgers (8-4) five points under its scoring average of 66 points per game. The Scarlet Knights will host no. 14/15 Indiana (11-2; 1-0) at the RAC on New Year’s Eve at 3 p.m. for the Big Ten home opener. Despite the best start for the program in decades, Rutgers hasn’t gained enough respect to be ranked yet as they don’t own any marquee wins as of yet.. However, if they can beat the Hoosiers, that will change and rightfully so.