B1G Game 15: Gophers Visit Rutgers (2-17-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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A Season in Two Parts

Last December, Rutgers opened the conference season with a win over Wisconsin followed by losses to Maryland, Iowa and Nebraska. Rutgers were not who we thought they were. Then Covid forced the Scarlet Knights into a hiatus. Between January 4 and February 4, seven consecutive games were postponed. Rutgers season Part 1 ended abruptly, poorly and with question marks framing the Scarlet Knights future.

Rutgers returned for Part 2 on February 5th avenging their Part 1 loss to Nebraska and then, four days later, taking down a solid Northwestern team in Evanston.

Now in her 26th season at Rutgers, C. Vivian Stringer, winnowed down her lineup and increased their playing time. Players had better be ready to go the full 40 and play the “55”. As usual, the starting lineup is long and lanky. Yes, heavily recruited freshman guard Diamond Johnson is 5’5” or there abouts. But the rest of the starters have length: All Big Ten senior guard Arella Guirantes is 5’11”; senior forwards Tekia Mack and Mael Gilles are 6’1”; and red shirt freshman forward Tyia Singleton is 6’2”. And those appear to be the only names we need to know.

Against Nebraska at the RAC, Rutgers dashed off to a 22-10 first quarter lead and then maintained double digit advantages at the end of each quarter. While the Huskers cut the lead to single digits in the second and third quarters. the Scarlet Knights doused each challenge on the way to a 78-62 victory. Rutgers’ 13 steals helped force 19 Husker turnovers. By comparison, Nebraska had 2 steals and forced 10 turnovers.

Yes, we are accustomed to Vivian Stringer shortening the bench; but this version of the Scarlet Knights only needs a couple of comfortable recliners on the sidelines. Playing 40 minutes against Nebraska were Tekia Mack (26 points), Diamond Johnson (22 points) and Mael Gilles (7 points). Arella Guirantes (17 points) caught a rest and only played 39 minutes. Tyia Singleton (6) played 28 minutes. Three reserves played and did not score.

Versus Northwestern, Rutgers unlimbered the press on occasion; but mainly they relied on disrupting the Wildcats driving lanes. The ‘Cats were frustrated in their probing for uncontested floor space. Nevertheless, Northwestern’s defense hampered the Scarlet Knights and entering the fourth quarter it was 47-44 Rutgers. There had been 13 lead changes. And then, poof, the final 10 minutes was all Scarlet Knights. A 23-10 run resulted in a 70-54 Rutgers walkaway. The steal and turnover stats were pretty even. Both teams committed 11 turnovers. Rutgers had 5 steals and Northwestern 6. Points off turnovers were almost even: 13 for Rutgers and 12 for Northwestern. The key was Rutgers making Northwestern launch lot of uncomfortable shots. The ‘Cats downed only 21% their field goals in the fourth quarter.

Playing 40 minutes were: Mack (16 points and 13 rebounds); Guirantes (15 points); and Gilles (6 points). At 39 minutes (getting the one minute rest) was Johnson (14 points). Singleton (17 points) clocked 30 minutes. The bench scored 2 points.

Today in West Lafayette the Scarlet Knights slowly strangled the Boilers. The Scarlet Knights led 18-15 at the end of one; 34-31 at the half; 52-44 at the end of three; and then a 23-13 run finished off the 75-54

Today in West Lafayette, Rutgers slowly strangled the Boilers. The Scarlet Knights led 18-15 at the end of one; 34-31 at the half; 52-44 at the end of three; then a 23-10 run finished off a 75-54 win. I haven’t watched the replay yet; but the Rutgers roster was simple: Guirantes with 30 points, Johnson with 19 points, Mack with 12 and Gilles with 6 all played 40 minutes. There was no one minute rest for the top four today. Singleton with 4 points played 29 minutes. The only bench player to play was Walker with 4 points.

Last Meeting

The last meeting between Rutgers and Minnesota was a wild Sunday afternoon affair that took two overtimes to resolve. Taiye Bello’s herculean effort, 19 points and 22 rebounds in 46 minutes, led the way. The stat of the day?: T Bello committed two fouls while drawing twelve! Subsequently, Taiye went 15-19 from the charity stripe including knocking down the tying free throws with :03 seconds remaining in regulation. Gadiva Hubbard’s 11 point fourth quarter (3-4 from three) included back to back threes that set up T Bello’s tying free throws.

At the end of regulation it was 57 all. At the end of the first overtime it was 61-61 (Taiye Bello made the tying layup with :34 seconds left). With :25 seconds left in the second OT, Jasmine Powell’s two free throws opened a 71-65 lead. Rutgers fought back; but Sara Scalia’s 2-4 from the foul line was enough to give the Gophers a 73-71 victory.

For Rutgers: Guirantes scored 17 in 47 minutes and Tekia Mack 16 points, 14 rebounds in 50 minutes. Gilles and Singleton played relatively minor roles. For the Gophers Powell (48 minutes) and Taiye Bello (46 minutes) both scored 19. It should be noted that Powell was 10-10 from the line. Hubbard scored 17 points in 49 minutes and Scalia 7 points in 45 minutes. Jasmine Brunson played most of the first half but did not return for the second half. She was having concussion symptoms if I recall.



Rutgers Big Ten Record (4-3)

Wins:
@ Wisconsin 70-65, Nebraska 78-62, @ Northwestern 70-54, @ Purdue 75-57

Losses: Maryland 87-91, @ Iowa 84-90, @ Nebraska 50-53

Postponed: Purdue, @ Ohio State, Northwestern, Penn State, Iowa, @ Maryland, Michigan, @ Indiana

Arella Guirantes Last Six B1G Games

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Maryland33106404
Iowa3425403
Nebraska853402
Nebraska1716391
Northwestern1535403
Purdue3055401


Diamond Johnson Last Six B1G Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Maryland1843314
Iowa1823355
Nebraska1962360
Nebraska2213402
Northwestern1455393
Purdue1996403


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’11”GRSrArella Guirantes39.421.99.0
5’5”GFrDiamond Johnson34.918.14.7
6’1”F/GSrTekia Mack32.912.95.6
6’1”FSrMael Gilles37.37.35.1
6’2”FRFrTyia Singleton35.46.46.3


Bench:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’7”GJrZipporah Braigton26.39.31.7
6’4”CFrSakima Walker9.22.40.6
6’0”G/FFrErika Lafayette12.31.01.7
6’3”FFrChyna Cornwell4.50.50.8
6’0”GFrLiz Martino5.20.50.7
 

fanfromthevalley

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And, as of Sunday afternoon, still no game time set. Only thing Gopher post-game notes indicate at this time is BTN+ streaming for the game.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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STrib: Gophers will be tested by Rutgers press:


Normally after a win, there would have been a day off.

But this situation isn't normal.

That's why Monday, the day after the Gophers women's basketball team beat Wisconsin at home — its second straight victory and fifth in seven games — coach Lindsay Whalen had the players back on the court.


"It didn't go long," Whalen said. "Just a little over an hour. But we need two days to prepare for this."

Wednesday the Gophers play at Rutgers, a team that, after losing games and weeks of games and practice because of COVID-19 issues, has returned and won three straight games
 

Katogopher

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So who’s supposed to be guard Johnson, too wide open. Nice start by Sconiers and Hubbard, shaky starts for Powell and Sissoko
 

whalenfan

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Gophers are doing a good job drawing fouls, these have been Sconiers best minutes all year for sure.
 

Aesop70

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Katalinich has to start hitting those short jumpers.
 

Aesop70

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A decent half against a very athletic team. But 2 bad turnovers at the end of the 2nd quarter and Scalia needed to hit that wide open 3.
 

Katogopher

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Gophers had a chance to take a lead but couldn’t make a shot. Horrible FT shooting for normally good shooting team. Still unforced errors continue to haunt this team, wish we could rush experience and composure.
 

whalenfan

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Gophers have gotten really good looks to start this half but havent made any
 

Aesop70

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Awful start to the 3rd quarter. Have to make our open shots.
 

Katogopher

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Gophers have had good looks at the basket but just can’t hit’em
 

Aesop70

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Back to back 5-second calls. Constant turnovers. Sloppy passing. Damn it. This could have been a game where we played tough and could be proud. Instead we'll be putting the scrubs in for the whole 4th quarter.
 

Aesop70

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Ugggg. LBK can't be the inbound option anymore...
 

Aesop70

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My god. Absolutely disgusting 3rd quarter. Nothing to be proud of there.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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The five second calls are better than just handing the ball to Rutgers for layups.
 

EaganGopher22

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Another awful 3rd quarter! and we can't handle the full court press either.
 

Katogopher

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Hope they can find a gym while out on the East Coast, Scalia and Powell missed some wide open looks from the 3, shots they usually make.
 

GringaGopher

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Decent 1st half but completely out played in the 2nd. TO's, poor D, missing bunnies n FT's. We shot 43/23/57 from FG/3/FT to their 56/56/80 %. They had 10 steals n caused 16 TO's. Can't win with those stats. Unfortunately, we have to play MD next. This could be a brutal road trip.
 

Bunyan

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Rutgers was too athletic and long for the Gopher guards. Too many ball tips and turnovers.
Also, 3 pointers shot out of rhythm and not taken in the flow of the game.
 

whalenfan

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Just a bad game for everyone, had some good looks to start the 2nd half and maybe the game is different if they make them. The game really snowballed after that. Mack was a nightmare defensively for our guards.
 

Hrothgar

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An embarrassing performance. With her nationwide reputation, it would seem Coach Whalen could recruit some better talent.
 
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