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Rutgers women’s basketball beats Illinois in regular season finale

The Scarlet Knights will face Penn State in the 12/13 game at the Big Ten Tournament

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 27 Women’s - Rutgers at Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Rutgers women’s basketball finished the regular season with a 66-56 road victory over Illinois (6-19; 1-13) on Sunday. After trailing by 7 points with 5:41 remaining in the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights finished the game on a 37-20 run. It was their third win in the last five games and helped the program avoid a last place finish in the Big Ten standings. RU finished the regular season with a 10-19 record and went 3-14 in conference play, while improving to 9-1 all-time against the Illini.

As a team, Rutgers shot 47.9% from the floor, 5 of 12 (41.7%) from behind the arc and an impressive 15 of 17 (88.2%) from the foul line. The defense held Illinois to just 32.2% shooting overall and just 4 of 20 (20.0%) from three-point range, while the home team made 14 of 16 (87.5%) from the charity stripe. RU was +3 on the boards but -3 in turnover margin.

For a second straight game, Shug Dickson led Rutgers with 19 points, shooting 6 of 17 from the floor and 7 of 9 from the foul line, along with 3 assists.

Sayawni Lassiter came up big off the bench, scoring a career high 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor, including 4 of 7 from three-point range. She has now made at least three three-pointers in three of her last six games. Lassiter also added 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 2 steals.

Osh Brown had 12 points and 5 rebounds, Jailyn Mason had 6 points and 4 rebounds, while Tyia Singleton had 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and a block.

The Scarlet Knights have played relatively well down the stretch. They won back to back games against Penn State at home and Minnesota on the road in mid-February, as well as lost in single digits to co-Big Ten champion Iowa last week at Jersey Mike’s Arena 87-78 on senior night. Ending the regular season with the Illini completes a solid few weeks for a team that’s continued to battle all winter without head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who has been on a leave of absence since April 2021.

Rutgers is the No. 13 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will face No. 12 seed Penn State (11-17; 5-13) in the first round on Wednesday, March 2 at 2 p.m. ET. The two schools split the season series with both teams holding serve at home. The Nittany Lions won 52-48 in Happy Valley on December 9 and the Scarlet Knights won 71-62 in Piscataway on February 13.

Here are game highlights and the postgame press conference following the win over Illinois on Sunday.