Rutgers Women’s Basketball: Scarlet Knights vs. Golden Gophers Preview
Rutgers hits the road to face the struggling Golden Gophers in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Scarlet Knights look to make it two in a row when they face-off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday afternoon.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (16-4) travel to Minneapolis where they’ll match up against Big Ten rival, the Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-8), at 3 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday. It will be the ninth meeting all-time between the two teams as Rutgers looks to break the string of home dominance in the series. The home team has won all eight games between the two in their history. Rutgers holds the all-time series lead, 5-3.
The Scarlet Knights look to bring their road record up to a solid 6-2 with a victory, while the Golden Gophers will try to improve upon their 8-5 home record. Rutgers will also look to take advantage of a Minnesota team, which has struggled of late, dropping seven of its last nine.
While Rutgers holds a better overall record, these two teams are nearly evenly matched in most categories. Minnesota averages nearly 4.5 more points per game, but Rutgers allows 9.7 fewer points per game against. The Scarlet Knights hold a slight edge in field goal percentage, but the Golden Gophers make up for that in three-point field goal percentage.
The Scarlet Knights also hold a slight edge in rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game. While the Golden Gophers lead in free throw percentage and turnovers per game.
Keys to Victory
More of the Same: The Scarlet Knights have won consistently this season when they control the paint and play solid defense. Coach C. Vivian Stringer is going to need more of the same on Sunday if she wants to leave with a victory.
The Scarlet Knights are 16-2 this season when outscoring opponents in the paint. They have outscored opponents by an average of 15.2 points per game down low. Controlling the paint should be one of Rutgers’ top priorities on Sunday.
Additionally, the Scarlet Knights have been dominant defensively all season. Rutgers ranks seventh in the country in field goal percentage defense and 13th in scoring defense, both of which lead the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights are going to need to continue to lock down the opposition if they hope to defeat Minnesota, which is averaging 72.6 points per game so far this season.
Balanced Attack: The Scarlet Knights have plenty of firepower offensively. Arella Guirantes is the second-leading scorer in the Big Ten, averaging 19.4 points per game. Guirantes can carry the team herself, but the Scarlet Knights would find it much easier if they can find balance throughout the lineup.
The Scarlet Knights are 14-1 so far this season when three or more players score in double-digits. In their commanding victory against Illinois on Thursday, Guirantes, Jordan Wallace, and Khadaizha Sanders each scored in double figures. In order to secure a win, Rutgers is going to look for a balanced attack offensively.
Following their matchup with the Golden Gophers, the Scarlet Knights will return home to face the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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