The 23rd ranked Rutgers women’s basketball team lost its third straight game after another slow start that resulted in a 20 point loss to Ohio State at the RAC on Thursday night. The Buckeyes employed a 2-3 zone that Rutgers failed to attack and settled for three-point shots instead, making just 2 of 21 attempts for 9%. Overall, the Scarlet Knights shot only 26.2% from the floor and scored just 39 points. After starting the season 11-0 at the RAC, Rutgers has now lost two straight on its home court.
Ohio State jumped out to a 23-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. Their largest lead was 22 points in the second quarter and they cruised to a 59-39 victory. They held a 17-3 advantage in fast break points and shot 45.8% from the floor. The Buckeyes improved to 11-12 overall and 7-7 in Big Ten play.
It was a very poor showing from Rutgers, who were embarrassingly called for a technical foul for having six players on the court in the second quarter. They failed to take advantage of 20 Ohio State turnovers, as the Buckeyes held a 10-9 edge in points off of takeaways, despite Rutgers committing just 12 of their own. Rutgers was out rebounded 44-35 as well.
Stasha Carey tied for a team best 9 points on 4 of 10 shooting and had a team high 10 rebounds, as well as 3 steals and 2 blocks. Arella Guirantes also scored 9 points, but struggled mightily shooting wise, making just 3 of 16 shots and went 0 of 6 from three-point range. She did contribute with 9 rebounds. Noga Peleg Pelc was the only Scarlet Knight to connect from deep as she scored 6 points on 2 of 4 shots from behind the arc. Victoria Harris added 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Tekia Mack produced 6 points and 4 rebounds.
While Rutgers is still solidly in third place in the Big Ten at 9-4 with a game and a half lead over Northwestern and Michigan, they are certainly in a tenuous state in the midst of a three-game losing streak. The downturn began at the same time that key contributor Caitlin Jenkins was put on indefinite suspension. Coach C. Vivian Stringer was interviewed after the game and didn’t have many answers regarding the poor play other than to lament the shooting slump the team is currently experiencing. The Scarlet Knights have made just 53 of 170 shots for 31.2%, as well as 7 of 56 for 12.5% from three-point range during the three-game losing streak.
With their NCAA hopes still hanging in the balance, there is still time for Rutgers to right the ship and make the postseason. However, time is running out to find answers. Hopefully this team can regroup for Monday’s road game at Indiana (17-8; 6-7) and get back on the winning track.