After a week of turmoil that involved two player dismissals and it’s Hall of Fame head coach taking a leave of absence due to health reasons, the Rutgers women’s basketball team responded in impressive fashion in the last home game of the season. In notching it’s second win in four days on Thursday night, the Scarlet Knights clinched a third place finish in the conference and will have a double bye in next week’s Big Ten Tournament. They defeated Minnesota 60-54 on senior night, avenging a defeat earlier this season.
The Gophers led 30-25 at halftime and 42-38 heading into the fourth quarter. However, Rutgers exhibited its toughness by outscoring the visitors 22-12 in the final frame, including a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line.
Arella Guirantes scored 14 of her career high 25 points in the fourth quarter. She was 10 of 17 shooting from the floor, as well as 5 of 5 from the free throw line. Guirantes added 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
In her last home game, senior Stasha Carey appropriately tallied a double-double, the 20th of her career, with 13 points and 11 rebounds, as well as 2 blocks and 2 steals. Carey was honored before the game along with fellow seniors Charise Wilson (4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals), Victoria Harris (2 points, 3 rebounds), and Sierra Calhoun (6 points on 6 of 6 FT line).
The final home game at the RAC for these 4 seniors will definitely be one to remember!— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) March 1, 2019
1⃣ crucial win
2⃣ byes in the @bigten tournament
3⃣ @RutgersWBB seed in the B1G Tourney in Indy
4⃣ seniors that will be missed at the RAC next season
THANK YOU SENIORS‼️ pic.twitter.com/jh4tPxoEq4
Rutgers shot 40% from the floor and was just 2 of 15 from three-point range, but Noga Peleg Pelc made both on three attempts for 6 points. They were an efficient 14 of 17 (82.4%) from the free throw line. Minnesota shot 37.8% from the field and were bolstered by 7 of 15 (46.7%) shooting from behind the arc, as well as going 13 of 16 from the charity stripe. The Scarlet Knights dominated inside though, holding a +8 rebounding margin and outscoring the Gophers 38-14 in the paint.
This was a huge win for Rutgers, as it secured the program’s best finish in conference play since joining the Big Ten five seasons ago. With a 12-5 record, they are assured of a third place finish. Although assistant Tim Eatman is acting head coach, the win counts for head coach C. Vivian Stringer. At 20-8 overall, Stringer tied former Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summit for the most 20 win seasons in a career at 36.
Rutgers will conclude the regular season on Sunday at Ohio State in a game that is still important in regard to an NCAA Tournament berth. The game will be aired live on BTN at 2 p.m.