It was night and day for Rutgers’ women’s basketball from Wednesday to Thursday.
In the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, 13th-seeded Rutgers scored 75 points, which was the most ever in a single game in this tournament. Against fifth-seeded Indiana, the Scarlet Knights were held to their lowest output in the Big Ten Tournament in a 66-54 loss.
Rutgers (11-20) shot just 36.5% from the field and 2-for-10 from three-point range. The first quarter was slow for both sides but Indiana was able to put it together toward the end sparked by a buzzer-beating three from Ali Patberg, who led the game with 19 points. Despite turning the ball over 16 times, the Hoosiers (20-7) totaled 18 assists, 10 steals, and hit six three’s in the win.
The Scarlet Knights outrebounded Indiana 35-30 but totaled just three assists on 23 made field goals. The Hoosiers also outscored Rutgers 16-6 at the free throw line.
Rutgers had two women finish in double-figures, led by Osh Brown who logged 12 points and 10 rebounds. She also finished with all three assists for the Scarlet Knights. Sayawni Lassiter came off the bench and added 12 points of her own.
Indiana quickly gained control of this game in the second quarter and the lead grew to as many as 16 after a Nicole Cardano-Hillary three-pointer midway through the fourth. It was difficult for Rutgers to get anything going offensively and this allowed Indiana to pull away.
This loss prevents the Scarlet Knights from making a run to the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the fifth consecutive year. Indiana will advance to take on fourth-seeded Maryland on Friday.
For the Scarlet Knights, the season comes to an end under acting head coach Tim Eatman. This is a team that lost its first 12 games in Big Ten play before rallying to win four of its last six entering Thursday. This is a position no one thought they would be in and that is a testament to the work that was put in over the last month of the season.