Rutgers women’s basketball team falls to Buffalo in 1st round of NCAA Tournament
Making their 25thappearance in the NCAA and first since 2015, the seventh seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights(22-10) faced off against 10thseed Buffalo(24-9) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.
Early on it was a track meet with both teams’ scoring at will but the Bulls had the upper hand shooting a blistering 58 percent from the perimeter and connecting on five out of eight trifecta’s to jump ahead 27-21 after the first quarter.
However, the Scarlet Knights ignited a rebuttal due to increased tenacity and intensity on the defensive end employing a stifling full-court press as Buffalo committed 10 turnovers in the quarter. Methodically chipping away at the deficit, Tekia Mack tied up the contest on a lay-up with less than four minutes remaining. A 17-4 run to end the half put Rutgers up at the half 43-41.
The Scarlet Knights came out of the locker room with more energy to start the second half, going on a 8-2 run to take their biggest lead of the contest at 52-43 with eight minutes to go in the third quarter. A back and forth game continued as Buffalo erupted for a 10-0 run to regain the advantage with less than five minutes remaining. Rutgers answered back with a 9-3 to go back in front. The trio of Mack, Stasha Carey and Arella Guirantes provided the bulk of offense.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights held a slim 61-59 lead only to see the Bulls respond with an 8-0 run to go up 67-63 with seven minutes left. Rutgers stemmed the tide again tying the game up at 69-69 on a lay-up from Victoria Harris with less than five minutes on the clock. However, the Scarlet Knights had no solution in containing the combination of Summer Hemphill and Cierra Dillard accounting for 40 points leading to a decisive 13-2 to end the game and 82-71 victory.
The Bulls shot 50 percent from the field, buried 12 of 23 from beyond the arc and drained 16 of 19 free throws. Rutgers shot 43 percent from the perimeter, struggling from three-point land hitting just 4 of 21 three’s and 9 of 15 free throws. Carey scored a game high 20 points for the Scarlet Knights, Guirantes chipped in with 14 and Mack added 10.
Sunil Sunder Raj
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