B1G Game 13: Gophers visit Rutgers (2-13-24)

Ignatius L Hoops

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EIGHT COME ELEVEN

Last season, Coquese Washington’s first after replacing Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer, Washington set an unusual course for the eight players wearing the Scarlet Knight uniform:

“We’re not in a rush to try to flip it over. We’re not doing real estate. We’re not buying houses and trying to flip it over and get as much profit as we can at any time; we’re trying to build this thing in a way that’s going to have long-lasting and sustained success, and that takes time. We’re going to be patient and build it in a way that’s authentic and a way that’s meaningful for everybody associated with the program right now. And we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it.”

I don’t know about the “fun”; but Washington and her staff showed an abundance of patience. Rutgers finished 5-13 in the Big Ten and ahead of Minnesota (4-14) a team which ran low on fun and entirely out of patience. The Scarlet Knights contributed to the Gopher’s woes by taking down Minnesota at Williams Arena in their only meeting 65-59. Here’s a “not again” game highlight of an ongoing Gopher problem:


Anyhow, it appeared something was percolating in Piscataway. Rutgers standout freshman guard Kaylene Smilke led the way with 20 points and 6 rebounds. (She was almost matched by Minnesota freshman Mallory Heyer with 18 points and 7 rebounds). Smilke went on to earn a place on the B1G all freshman team.

Coquese Washington was pleased enough by the progress to increase the roster to 11 for the 2023-24 season. Among the additions were Destiny Adams from North Carolina and point guard Mya Pettiford from Texas A&M.

Then, in July, life interrupted. Assistant coach and basketball legend Nikki McCray-Penson passed away at 51. In October, Rutgers and South Carolina played an exhibition game in her honor.

Rutgers began the season 3-3 capped with a loss to Carly Thibault-DuDonis’ powerhouse Fairfield Stags 54-78. However, the injury bug had taken a seat on the Scarlet Knight bench.

First, graduate guard, Awa Sidibe who started every game last season will not play at all this season after suffering a season-ending injury in practice. Second, on December 30 versus Northwestern, Kaylene Smilke sustained an injury early in the game and has not returned to the court. Third, point guard Mya Petticord missed a run of 11 games during the middle of the season. So, yes, there have been games, like last season, with 8 available players-one of which is a walk-on. Patience remains a virtue on the Banks of the Raritan.

With yesterday’s 58-86 loss to Michigan the Scarlet Knight’s are 1-12 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were without Laila Phelia. Minnesota, it should be noted, defeated Michigan 82-66 with Phelia scoring 16 points for the Maize and Blue.

Both Minnesota and Rutgers struggle to guard post players. Both lost to Wisconsin partly because they couldn’t guard Badger center Serah Williams; she had 24 points and 15 rebounds versus the Gophers and 31 and 12 versus Rutgers. Perhaps the 4-8 Gophers could borrow Williams for the game. One thing we can count on Tuesday night in New Jersey is that fans, players, and coaches will require a great deal of patience if not humor.

WIN: @ Nebraska 71-70

LOSSES: Indiana 56-66, @ Northwestern 70-77, @ Purdue 76-77, Iowa 69-103, @ Ohio State 56-90, Penn State 80-94, @ Illinois 68-96, Michigan 50-56, @ Wisconsin 62-73, Michigan 64-82, Maryland 59-67, @ Michigan 58-86

RUTGERS STARTERS (stats are for conference games):

Destiny Adams
is a 6’3” junior swing player averaging 17.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game. She had 28 points and 10 rebounds versus Michigan State and went 22 and 8 versus Maryland.

Mya Petticord is a 5’9” sophomore point guard averaging 10.5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 33.3 minutes. She had 15 points and 6 rebounds versus the Badgers.

Kassondra Brown is a 6’2” graduate center averaging 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 22.2 minutes. Brown posted 21 points, 5 points and 4 assists in the win over Nebraska.

Lisa Thompson is a 5’9” freshman guard averaging 8.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 24 minutes. She had 11 points and 3 rebounds versus Maryland.

Jillian Huerter is a 6’0” freshman guard averaging 6.7 points and 2.5 rebounds in 29.4 minutes. She is a solid three point shooter going 20-58 (.345) from behind the arc.

OFF THE BENCH:

Chyna Cornwell
is a 6’3” senior center averaging 6.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 20.5 minutes. She had 7 points and 8 rebounds against the Huskers.

Antonia Bates is a 6’3” sophomore swing player averaging 3 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30.3 minutes. She had 7 points and 7 assists versus Nebraska
 

BigTenGuy

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Coquese is a puzzle in the WBB world. Well liked and highly regarded. Took over a mess at RU, and injuries have really hurt the current team. Still, counting this year, her last 7 years as head coach include 6 11th or worse BIG finishes. That can be fatal to a coaching career. Will be interesting to see if she can restore RU to prominence.

Gophers have to win in NJ. Rutgers is not good at all.
 
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GringaGopher

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Coquese is a puzzle in the WBB world. Well liked and highly regarded. Took over a mess at RU, and injuries have really hurt the current team. Still, counting this year, her last 7 years as head coach include 6 11th or worse BIG finishes. That can be fatal to a coaching career. Will be interesting to see if she can restore RU to prominence.

Gophers have to win in NJ. Rutgers is not good at all.
I was a little surprised when she left the ND job but she obviously wants to be a head coach. She had marginal teams @ PSU as well.
 

BigTenGuy

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I was a little surprised when she left the ND job but she obviously wants to be a head coach. She had marginal teams @ PSU as well.
She had 4 really good teams at PSU with the great Maggie Lucas, but it was downhill after that.
 



Mnwhiteshoes

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I predict a BIG W tonight. There will be some new roles, added PT, reduced PT, and Coach P drives this W.
Sanders, Heyer, G$$, the bench will prevail.
 


adamj95

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Too many turnovers but still at 10 point lead :whistle:
 






Katogopher

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Fugly, although I think the refs got Rutgers back in it. Physical game but one sided on the calls I believe. Still can’t manufacture any points or offensive movements~sigh…
 

Gophers112233

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who knew you could do a take down and not get called for a foul.. I HAVE NO clue how that was on foul on Heyer..

hopefully Dawn is waking this team up... usually the 3rd quarter is not our friend.. hopefully it is tonight
 



gopherdudepart2

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who knew you could do a take down and not get called for a foul.. I HAVE NO clue how that was on foul on Heyer..

hopefully Dawn is waking this team up... usually the 3rd quarter is not our friend.. hopefully it is tonight
That was a really strange call on Heyer(Not our foul). Hopefully the calls even out a bit, Rutgers has 10 free throws to the Gophers Very one-sided officiating so far.
 

gopherdudepart2

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Tough start to the third quarter. If I had a cure for the third quarter blues I would reveal it. 3rd quarter has been a theme even going back to last year.
 

Frink

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Battle has overall been better on taking care of the ball tonight but her shot is really off
 

GringaGopher

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We were up by 10 in the 1st half n now the dreaded 3rd quarter…..
 


Gophers112233

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EVERY SINGLE game teams turn into the MONSTAR against us.. and won't make these shots the rest of the season..
 

gopherdudepart2

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So far this game is turning big time. Suddenly Rutgers getting wide open looks and scoring. Not looking good body language wise. Hope the coaches can get Gophers going.Cant buy a shot or rebound. 15 turnovers so far.
 






gopherdudepart2

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Cut the lead to 4. Back in the game. Let's go Gophers! Hopefully G$$ can heat up more. Gophers need it.
 


Gophers112233

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Rutgers hasn't been able to hit 3's all year long.. but ofc tonight they will and then wont be able to the rest of the season.. unreal.. they avg 5 made 3's a game

Pitticord 4 MADE threes in her LAST 7 games total... ofc she has 4 tonight
 

Frink

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Battle has overall been better on taking care of the ball tonight but her shot is really off
Oof, then a couple of costly bad turnovers in the fourth. Really hope she can come out of this funk before the season ends
 





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