The Rutgers women’s basketball team played its first game in two weeks and just second all season on Friday night in the Big Ten opener at Wisconsin. Mired by poor shooting, the Scarlet Knights overcame an early deficit to beat the Badgers 70-65 behind a strong defensive effort.
RU swiped 22 steals and forced 27 turnovers which resulted in a commanding 27-6 advantage in points off of turnovers in the game. Point guard Zippy Broughton led Rutgers in both points (18) and steals (6) in 37 minutes of action. Heralded freshman and fellow point guard Diamond Johnson came off the bench to score 17 points, grab 6 rebounds and swipe 2 steals in 22 minutes of playing time. Star Arella Guirantes struggled shooting from the field on Friday (3 of 14) in a game Rutgers only shot 36% as a team. However, she was a clutch 10 of 11 from the foul line and finished with 16 points, a team high 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Tekia Mack chipped in with 11 points, 5 steals, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Tyia Singleton added 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.
“Our team had high spirits and were supportive of each other, and that’s going to be the key,” head coach C. Vivian Stringer said. “We were glad to get that win. We had veteran players that were able to play the press, putting pressure on Wisconsin and stepping it up throughout the game. They are an excellent shooting team, so we tried to take them out of their rhythm.”
It’s an excellent sign for the Scarlet Knights to win on the road in Big Ten play despite not having a good shooting night, even if it was against a team that was just 3-15 in league play last season. Zippy Broughton’s performance , who Stringer cited as having worked extremely hard this offseason, is encouraging after two up and down seasons from the former 5-star recruit. The backcourt of Rutgers could be one of the best in the Big Ten if Broughton and Johnson can be steady contributors behind Guirantes this season.
Rutgers (2-0, 1-0) returns home to the RAC to host no. 14 Maryland on Monday, December 14 at 2 p.m. ET. The game will air live on BTN+. They also added a non-conference game against Hampton on Friday, December 18 at the RAC at 1 p.m.