The Rutgers women’s basketball team earned an important road victory in Big Ten play on Sunday, defeating Purdue 59-53 at Mackey Arena. After jumping out to a 24-9 lead after the first quarter, the Boilermakers fought back to tie the game in the fourth quarter. With the score knotted at 51 with 1:17 to play, the Scarlet Knights finished the game on an 8-2 run to seal the victory.
Arella Guirantes led the way with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 4 from three-point range. She scored 8 points in the final four minutes of the contest and added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 0 turnovers in 38 minutes.
Mael Gilles came up big in the final minute for Rutgers, knocking down all four free throw attempts to help clinch the win and finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. Frontcourt mate Jordan Wallace had a key block in the final seconds and finished with 12 points on 6 of 12 shooting, as well as 4 rebounds. Point guard KK Sanders added 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Both teams shot 40% from the field in the game, but the difference was Rutgers shooting 45.5% from three-point range on 5 of 11 attempts, as well as making 10 of 11 free throws, including 6 of 6 in the final 30 seconds of the game. Purdue was just 6 of 19 for 31.6% from three and 9 of 15 from the charity stripe. Turnovers were an issue for both sides (Rutgers 21; Purdue 19), but RU won the battle inside, holding a 28-19 advantage with points in the paint.
Rutgers is now 12-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play, bouncing back from a 10 point loss to no. 14 Indiana (12-2; 2-0) on New Year’s Eve. Purdue dropped to 11-4 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten play. Up next, the Scarlet Knights travel to Illinois (9-4; 0-2) this Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET before returning home to host Nebraska (12-2; 2-1) at the RAC this Sunday at 2 p.m ET. This week is a great opportunity to move up the conference standings and continue positive momentum this season.