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Rutgers honors Teresa Grentz with first B1G win of season



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics/Ben Solomon

On Theresa Grentz Day, the Rutgers women’s basketball team earned it first Big Ten win of the season on Saturday at the RAC. With the program honoring its legendary coach as well as the 1982 AIAW National Championship team and additional letter winners, the Scarlet Knights defeated RV Nebraska by the final score of 57-45.

Rutgers held Nebraska to just 5 first quarter points and a ten minute scoring drought in the first half to lead 30-20 at the break. The Cornhuskers missed their first 21 shots from three-point range and finished shooting just 28% from the floor in the game. RU dominated the boards with a 46-35 advantage. The Scarlet Knights held the Cornhuskers to a season-low 45 points.

Freshman Kaylene Smikle led the way her seventh game of the season with 20 or more points and 13th double digit scoring performance overall. Smikle finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists.

Junior Chyna Cornwell held things down inside with 8 points, 12 rebounds and a blocked shot. Point guard Awa Sidibe added 7 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Coming off the bench, freshman Antonia Bates chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds. Reserve Kai Carter added 7 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

RU improved to 7-10 for the season and 1-4 in Big Ten play while Nebraska dropped to 10-6 overall and 2-3 in league play.

“I have seen [so much improvement] over the course of the season,” Washington said. “For us it’s not coach speak, it’s continuing to get better every day and we are a team that doesn’t have any continuity from last year. It has taken a while for us to get into our rhyme and figure out who we can be. This is a big step today to be able to get over the hump and actually play well for four quarters. We wanted tonight to come out and have a great first quarter and we did that and I think that set the tone and gave us the confidence to finish it off.”

It was a great day for Rutgers to earn Coquese Washington’s first Big Ten win in leading the program. Honoring legend and Hall of Famer Teresa Grentz with a victory was a fitting tribute. Washington has spoken about her respect for Grentz and C. Vivian Stringer in the past and the responsibility she feels in now leading the program they had so much success with. Winning this game certainly meant a lot to her. 

“We were happy to be able to have this day and able to honor Theresa Grentz and celebrate her accomplishments here at Rutgers,” Washington added. “She is just a tremendous person and a tremendous role model. She has meant so much to the game of women’s basketball and to be able to celebrate her today was special. I’m glad the team came out and gave her a performance that she could be proud of.”

Rutgers will next face Minnesota on the road on January 12 at 8:30 p.m. ET and will air live on the Big Ten Network.

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  1. FGM3RC73

    January 8, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    I watched the game and they are certainly getting better from earlier in the season from both an offensive and defensive perspective, but the TO’s remain a terrible problem. I believe we are averaging around 25 per game. There is zero chance we can be consistently competitive until that problem is solved. The box score from yesterday’s game was not posted in the Scarlet Knights website, so I don’t know for sure but I’m fairly certain it was over 20 again. Coquese and her staff have to focus on this and get this down to a manageable number, or they might not win another game this year. Also, I thought I read that they were adding an early enrollee to the squad after the first of the year, but they still only had 8 players yesterday. Aaron, do you know anything about the roster situation going forward?

    • Aaron Breitman

      January 8, 2023 at 2:46 pm

      Fair point on turnovers. I saw no box score but found it elsewhere. It was 21 turnovers and is definitely an issue. I think part of it is a lack of depth the big minutes are taking its toll. Jillian Huerter joined the program this semester early out of high school. She is with the program and in the picture I have for the story. She must not have suited up. I’m sure they’ll bring her along slowly.

      • FGM3RC73

        January 8, 2023 at 8:44 pm

        Thanks much for the response. Hope they get Huerter into the picture sooner rather than later. Playing in the BIG with 8 players is beyond difficult. Also, love the new website look. Very easy to navigate and no more connectivity issues either. Great work!

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