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Three Takeaways on Rutgers women’s basketball non-conference schedule



Kaylene Smikle looks to lead Rutgers forward in her second season. Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers women’s basketball announced its non-conference schedule for the 2023-2024 season on Thursday. Entering head coach Coquese Washington’s second season, the Scarlet Knights have several intriguing matchups. Here are three takeaways on the non-conference schedule for RU.

Marquee Home Game A Smart Move

The Scarlet Knights will play its final non-conference game against the defending ACC Tournament champions Virginia Tech on Sunday, December 17 at Jersey Mike’s Arena. Tip-off time will be announced at a later date. Hosting the Hokies following a Final Four appearance last season will bring some extra sizzle to this matchup. It will be a great test for Rutgers ahead of Big Ten play. It will also add excitement around the program and should draw a good crowd. While it’s too early to put postseason expectations on Washington’s squad, it’s a positive to see her schedule such a big game in the non-conference schedule. She isn’t afraid to challenge her team and Washington is creating more buzz around the program bringing in a top team to play.

Well Balanced Slate Overall

Rutgers is set to play four non-conference teams that won postseason games and finished in the top 100 of the NET rankings last season. The Scarlet Knights were No. 166 and hope to improve this season. They are set to face Virginia Tech (No. 5), Princeton (No. 40), Seton Hall (No. 70), and Auburn (No. 81). Playing both in-state rivals a second straight season gives the Scarlet Knights two tough tests that are compelling matchups. Princeton won 24 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament las season. Seton Hall advanced to the second round of the NIT. RU will play both on the road this season. Bringing Auburn to Piscataway is a fun addition as well. Solid high major matchup against an SEC team that made it to the second round of the NIT last season.

Rutgers will also host LaSalle out of the Atlantic-10. The Explorers were 17-14 last season and finished No. 164 in the NET rankings.

Monmouth also comes to Piscataway following a stunning run to win the CAA Tournament Championship last season. They lost its opening game of the NCAA Tournament and will provide a good test in non-conference play. The Hawks NET was No. 221. Fairfield (No. 250 NET) is seventh team that Rutgers will face who had a .500 record or better a year ago.

There are four low ranked matchups at home against sub-300 NET teams from last season. They are against No. 305 Wagner, No. 326 Lafayette, No. 348 Delaware State and No. 352 St. Francis (PA). With just ten scholarship players on the roster, Rutgers needs to have some low major opponents on the non-conference slate as well.

How challenging the non-conference slate will ultimately be might be answered with the two additional opponents yet to be named.

Feast Week Tournament intriguing

Washington is also challenging her team with Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Las Vegas. The South Point Shootout takes place in South Point Arena. Last season, the four teams were Middle Tennessee (No. 33), Auburn (No. 81), Colorado State (No. 89) and Mercer (No. 184). The tournament has not announced the 2023 participants, but if its similar to last season Rutgers will likely play two more quality opponents.

Overall, Washington put together a competitive non-conference schedule for her second season. With 18 games against Big Ten foes, the 13 out of conference matchups will help prepare her team for league play. There are plenty of opportunities for good wins as well. With six core contributors from last season returning as well as two high profile transfers, Rutgers has a chance to take another step forward this coming season.

You can purchase Rutgers women’s basketball season tickets for the 2023-24 season HERE.

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