On Friday, the Rutgers women’s basketball team announced it’s 2019-2020 schedule, along with the rest of the Big Ten conference. Coming off a 22-10 campaign a year ago that included a program best third place finish in the Big Ten and an NCAA appearance, the Scarlet Knights welcome their leader back in head coach C. Vivian Stringer. The hall of fame coach returns for her 25th year at Rutgers after missing the last few weeks of the last season due to health issues. Stringer returned to the program healthy over the summer and has a solid group of eight returning players along with several intriguing newcomers.
Redshirt junior wing Arella Guirantes is the top returning player from last season, when she averaged 12.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, earning an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection. Junior forward Tekia Mack provided a huge spark off the bench several times last season and she averaged 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Also returning are sophomore guard Noga Peleg Pelc, who shot 37.9% from three-point range and averaged 5.2 points per game, as well as sophomore guard Zippy Broughton, who came on strong down the stretch last season (3.9 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists). In addition, redshirt senior point guard KK Sanders returns after missing last season due to injury a year removed from finishing in the top 15 of the Big Ten in assists and steals.
The Scarlet Knights welcome 5-star forward Maori Davenport and USA Today’s First Team All-State Selection Joiya Maddox. Both freshman are from the state of Alabama, as is former 5-star recruit Broughton. Rutgers also welcomes two guard transfers, including former 5-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American Alexis Morris who starred at Baylor as a freshman and Danielle Migliore from St. Bonaventure.
Rutgers begins the season on November 5th in the Yellowhammer State where coach Stringer has done very well on the recruiting trail with three former scholastic stars currently on the roster, against South Alabama. After a three-game homestand that includes Harvard, they travel to play SEC school LSU. The Scarlet Knights will spend Thanksgiving in the Bahamas playing in the Junkajoo Jam against Vanderbilt and will either play Seton Hall or Georgia Tech the following day. They’ll return home to host Virginia as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and a pair of conference champions from last season in Towson (CAA) and Southern (SWAC).
Stringer’s team opens Big Ten play at Wisconsin before the home opener on New Year’s Eve against the Indiana Hoosiers, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s second round last season. The Scarlet Knights face second place Maryland just once on the road in January and face league champion Iowa on the last day of the regular season at the RAC in early March. Rutgers will face Michigan and Michigan State twice this season, both of whom finished behind RU in the conference standings but made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. For the complete schedule for the 2019-2020 season, click here.
Team chemistry, outside shooting, and replacing leading scorer and rebounder Stasha Carey are all key questions for this team heading into the season. However, the talent and depth is there for Rutgers to finish near the top of the Big Ten standings and make the NCAA Tournament for the 17th time during Stringer’s tenure on the banks.