The Rutgers women’s basketball team desperately needed a spark to snap its three game losing streak. That’s exactly what they got on Monday night on the road against Indiana as Tekia Mack scored a career high 24 points. Her effort led Rutgers to a much needed 69-61 victory over the Hoosiers. It completed a season sweep of Indiana, who led by 7 points midway through the third quarter of this game. It also solidified the Scarlet Knights in third place of the Big Ten standings with four games remaining.
Rutgers struggled with getting off to good starts of late but held a 16-12 lead at the end of the first quarter in this game. It was a back and forth game the whole way, including a 1 point differential at the half and Rutgers led by just 2 points with 1 minute left in the game. Charise Wilson stepped up and went 6 for 6 from the free throw line to seal the victory.
Mack came off the bench and was on fire all night, making 10 of 12 shots from the floor, including a perfect 4 of 4 from three-point range. She added 5 rebounds as well as a block, assist, and steal in 24 minutes of action. Due to her performance, the Rutgers bench outscored Indiana 27-3.
Several others also had very good performances. They include Charise Wilson who had 16 points on 4 of 11 shooting, including 2 of 5 from three-point range and the clutch 6 of 6 from the free throw line in the final minute of the game. She added 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Stasha Carey chipped in 11 points and CC Cryor had just 2 points, but was great creating scoring opportunities for her teammates, producing 10 assists and 6 steals. Victoria Harris added a presence inside, scoring 4 points along with a team high 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.
As a team, Rutgers broke out of its three game shooting slump by post 49% from the field, including 8 of 19 for 42% from three point range. They were 11 of 16 for 69% from the free throw line. Indiana shot 42% from the field, 36% from three point range and an impressive 19 of 23 from the free throw line. Indiana also held an edge with points in the paint (28-26), points off of turnovers (18-12), second chance points (9-6), and fast break points (10-7). However, it was the outside shooting and clutch free throws of Rutgers that was the difference.
The Scarlet Knights are now 18-7 overall and 10-4 in Big Ten play with a game and a half lead for third place. They stay on the road for a showdown with fourth place Michigan (18-9; 9-6) on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET. Rutgers is 5-2 on the road in conference play this season and with a win against the Wolverines, they would have a 2+ game lead for third place with just three regular season games remaining. Defense has been the key all season, as Rutgers has held every opponent below its scoring average in every game.