Rutgers beats Northwestern 62-48
With just eight scholarship players, head coach Coquese Washington and her coaching staff have built Rutgers women’s basketball into a resilient team in her first season. Three days after the worst loss of the season at No. 6 Iowa, the Scarlet Knights came from behind to win its fifth Big Ten game of the season.
After trailing the entire first half, the game was tied 42-42 to begin the fourth quarter. Rutgers dominated the final frame, outscoring Northwestern 20-6 to secure a 62-48 victory.
The Wildcats (8-18, 1-14 B1G) committed 28 turnovers as RU swiped a season high 16 steals and held a 24-11 advantage in points off of turnovers. The Scarlet Knights were also dominant in transition, holding a 22-5 advantage in fast break points. Rutgers held a +13 rebounding margin including 17 offensive rebounds that resulted in a 14-7 edge in second chance points.
“I was really pleased with our defensive intensity in the fourth quarter,” head coach Coquese Washington said, “Before going into the fourth quarter, we talked about how we had to be really good on the defensive end and rebounding. We had to finish off the game with a strong defensive quarter, and we did that.”
Junior forward Chyna Cornwell was tremendous on the glass, grabbing a career high 17 rebounds. She scored 8 points on 3 of 11 shooting along with 3 steals and a blocked shot. The Big Ten leader in offensive rebounds grabbed an eye popping 9 in the win on Wednesday night.
Freshman Kaylene Smikle led RU with 21 points on 7 of 17 shooting along with 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists. It marked the 22nd double digit game of the season 13th with 20+ points. She is now averaging 20.0 points per game in Big Ten play.
“[Kaylene] doesn’t think about leading the team day in and day out,” Washington added. “She’s still enjoying being a freshman, and we don’t put that pressure on her. We talk about everyone going out there and playing their role, and so she knows her role is to try to get points for us.”
Kassondra Brown added 12 points on 3 of 7 shooting along with 3 rebounds, a block and a steal. Awa Sidibe had 11 points on 5 of 12 shooting along with 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists and a block.
There are three regular season games remaining. Rutgers is now 11-16 overall and in 10th place in the Big Ten with a 5-10 record. They’ll play at Wisconsin on Monday, February 20 at 7 p.m. ET airing live on the Big Ten Network.
Watch the postgame press conference and game highlights below:
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February 16, 2023 at 6:16 pm
The ladies are showing some swagger and Smikle looks like the real deal. Steady improvement is a credit to both the team & the coaching staff. I do miss Diamond Johnson though, but glad to see she’s having a nice season & career at NC St.
February 17, 2023 at 6:02 pm
We need Smikle to stay put and not transfer!!!