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This past weekend, the Rutgers women’s basketball team traveled to Boston, Mass. to face Harvard. The Scarlet Knights (6-3) were able to defeat the Crimson (4-6) by a final score of 60-49.
Harvard had averaged 68.3 total points per game, until it hosted Rutgers. This season, the Knights have kept each opponent below their scoring average.
The team was led by sophomore guard Arella Guirantes, who posted a season-high 19 points and went 6-10 from the field. She also went 6-6 from the free throw line.
Fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey also had 19 points and went 7-12 from the field for the team lead along with Guirantes. She also had six rebounds, and was 5-8 from the free throw line.
“(Carey) and (Guirantes) were amazing,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. “They came ready. I was really pleased. (Guirantes) seems aggressive attacking. (Carey) had accused her of not really taking shots ... and she proved to be wrong. I knew that she was capable, and she stepped up to the plate.”
Rutgers got some much-needed rest before it traveled to Massachusetts. It looks like it paid off.
The Knights' starting lineup had changed for the first time in seven games, which appeared to positively affect the team's performance.
“I was extremely pleased with the way we held on because we have been in some real tough competition in Canada,” Stringer said. “We had a nice lead and then when the team knocked in a couple 3-pointers, it drove our spirit.”
In the first two quarters, Rutgers only allowed 9 and 6 points, respectively, but the Crimson came back to fight in the following quarters. The Knights edged them out in the third quarter, putting up 16 points while Harvard ended the quarter with 15 points.
The fourth quarter was a different story. The Crimson had led by one point at the start of the last quarter, but in the end, Harvard fell short, trailing Rutgers by 11 points.
After the game, Stringer was asked about improvements the team could make in the week leading up to its game against Louisiana State (4-2) at home.
“Transition defense,” Stringer said. “Doing a better job of rebounding and just carrying out our defensive philosophies.”
The Knights are a strong offensive team. They're also starting to develop their defense to compete against stronger teams.
With a roster riddled with injuries, Stringer has had to make some tough decisions on and off the court, but as time progresses, the team is getting healthier.
Graduate student guard Sierra Calhoun and true freshman guard Zipporah Broughton have been on the bench for the majority of the season.
Broughton started the first game of the season against St. Francis, but ended up walking off the court with an injury by the end of the game. Broughton went 1-3 from the field and was 1-2 from the free throw line over the weekend.
Calhoun ended the night going 1-3 from behind the arc.
Broughton and Calhoun both are starting to make more consistent appearances on the court, which can only help Rutgers as the season progresses.
Senior forward Caitlin Jenkins had another successful game with a game-high 10 rebounds, her fourth game where she had over 10 rebounds. Including this performance against the Crimson, she has 23 career games with more than 10 rebounds.
While Harvard rebounded from a tough first half, it fell short of success against the Knights on its home court.
“I was really happy to see the resilience, the fight and the mindset that we had,” Stringer said. “It was good. There were plenty of times to crack, but they hung in there and they played well together, so that made a world of difference.”
For updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.