The Rutgers women’s basketball completed a huge final week of the regular season with come from behind victory over Ohio State on the road Sunday. The win followed triumphs over Wisconsin and Minnesota earlier in the week, as the Scarlet Knights enter the postseason on a three-game winning streak.
Trailing by as many as 16 points in the first quarter and through the entire game into the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights battled the whole way to overtake the Buckeyes on its home floor in the final minutes of the game.
It was a tale of two halves shooting wise, as Ohio State shot 72.2% and held Rutgers to just 25.8% from the field in the opening frame, as the Buckeyes led 38-25 at the break.
The Scarlet Knights responded in a big way in the second half, holding Ohio State to just 18 points on 21.4% shooting. On the flip side. Rutgers shot 53.6% from the field and produced 41 second half points. Rutgers was +6 on the boards and had a +8 turnover margin, as 9 steals helped lead to 30 turnovers by the Buckeyes. That resulted in them taking 27 less shots from the floor in the game.
The Scarlet Knights held a 28-14 edge with points in the paint and a 15-2 advantage in second chance points.
Rutgers was led by Arella Guirantes and freshman Zippy Broughton, both of whom scored a game high 19 points.
Guirantes was just 5 of 15 from the field, but was clutch down the stretch from the free throw line, making 9 of 10 shots. She also pulled down a game high 7 rebounds, as well 3 assists and 2 steals.
Broughton broke out on the last day of the regular season in a big way, making 7 of 11 shots, including 3 of 5 from three-point range to produce a career scoring high. She added 4 rebounds. It was the best performance as a Scarlet Knight for the former 5-star recruit and certainly a sign of things to come the rest of her career.
Tekia Mack was also huge off the bench once again, delivering 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
The coaching staff, led by acting head coach Tim Eatman, as well as the players, deserve a lot of credit for Rutgers finishing the season on a three-game winning streak without head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who is on a leave of absence due to health reasons. Rutgers also dismissed key players Caitlin Jenkins and CC Cryor in the past two weeks as well. Eatman spoke after the game about the victory.
At 21-8 and a 13-5 record in Big Ten play, its best finish since joining the conference, Rutgers has earned the 3 seed and double bye in this week’s Big Ten Tournament. They’ll play the last quarterfinal game on Friday night live on BTN against the winner of Nebraska vs. Illinois or Purdue.
As for its NCAA Tournament chances, Rutgers is in very good shape after closing out the regular season with three consecutive wins. The site RealTimeRPI updates daily and currently has Rutgers in as a 6th seed. Charlie Creme of ESPN currently lists Rutgers as an 8 seed. Of course, at least one win in the Big Ten Tournament would make things even more secure and a run this weekend in Indianapolis would certainly help improve seeding as well. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Monday, March 18th at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.