- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
THE MORE RUTGERS CHANGES…
Remember last season’s Scarlet Knights? Their five leading scorers were: Arella Guirantes, Zipporah Broughton, Mael Gilles, Diamond Johnson and Tekia Mack. They were coached by Hall of Famer C Vivian Stringer. Rutgers endured a slow start to the Big Ten season going 1-3 with losses to Maryland, Nebraska, and Iowa. The only win was over the benign Badgers. Then Covid forced the postponement of seven straight games.
Following the involuntary break, a rejuvenated Scarlet Knight squad ran off 9 consecutive victories to finish the B1G season 10-3 and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. The fourth victim in the string was Minnesota who were swept away 83-56. Klarke Sconiers led the Gophers with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Sara Scalia was the only other Gopher in double figures with 12 points. Rutgers were led by Johnson with 26, Guirantes 22 and Mack with 12.
Nevertheless, the season ended with a thud. Rutgers was dispatched by Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament 73-62. More surprisingly, the Scarlet Knights were jettisoned from the first round of the NCAA tournament by 11th seeded BYU 69-66.
Change arrived quickly on the banks of the Old Raritan. Guirantes graduated, Broughton set sail for Florida, Johnson headed down Tobacco Road to N C State, Gilles we encountered wandering the Arizona State desert and Mack transferred to Chi Town’s DePaul before disappearing into the ether. Later it was disclosed that C Vivian Stringer, because of health concerns related to covid, had stepped away from coaching the upcoming season and turned the reins over to Timothy Eatman.
Eatman was well known. The replacements for the departed players were not. Eatman had stepped in as the interim head coach on a couple of previous occasions. Eatman and his staff mined the transfer portal for experience: guard Shug Dickson arrived from Missouri, forward Osh Brown from Ball State, forward Lasha Petree from Bradley, guard Jailyn Mason from Arkansas, guard Sayawni Lassiter from Florda State and Victoria Morris from Old Dominion. Five graduate students and a senior. And they could score (from Rutgers before the Purdue game):
The Scarlet Knights are the only team in NCAA Division I to boast four current 1,000-point scorers on the 2021-22 roster: Osh Brown (1,604), Lasha Petree (1,489), Victoria Morris (1,437), and Jailyn Mason (1,008) combining for 5,538 points. Shug Dickson has 978 and is 22 points away from becoming the fifth member of the Rutgers Millenials.
Yes, there were some Scarlet Knights who remained in Piscataway. Two of the most prominent were junior 6’2” forward Tyia Singleton who saw some time as a starter last season and 6’5” Sakima Walker whom Eatman seems to be working into the lineup.
The Scarlet Knights are a veteran team assembled for a one-off season.
…THE MORE RUTGERS REMAINS THE SAME
However, Rutgers remains Rutgers. They are the Big Ten’s worse offensive team (57.27 ppg) and its best defensive team (55.27 ppg). They are terrible shooters hitting .258 from three and .401 from the field. All the Rutgers offense jokes still apply. They remain, for long stretches, the most unwatchable offense in women’s basketball. Their defense is an acquired taste. But it’s not been all that helpful. The Scarlet Knights force 18 turnovers per game; but commit 20. They can’t get out of their own way.
Despite an easy non-conference schedule, Rutgers are again off to a slow start. The highlight of the non-con schedule was an overtime 69-66 win versus Harvard. It’s a highlight only because the Scarlet Knights managed to trail the Crimson by 18 entering the fourth quarter.
The B1G season hasn’t produced such a highlight. Although, 0-3 Rutgers has had its Big Ten moments.
WHAT TO EXPECT
- With 7:14 remaining the Scarlet Knights cut a Maryland lead to 4 at 52-56 before the Terps danced away.
- Against Penn State, Rutgers led 44-42 with 5:46 remaining before the Lady Lions emerged victorious.
- In the battle against Purdue, the Scarlet Knights recovered from a 20 point third quarter deficient only to watch Purdue sink a buzzer beating layup for a 60-58 win. Rutgers played the game short handed with only 12 available players. One of the players missing was Shug Dickson. Without her, the Scarlet Knights were a mess. To finish anywhere near Purdue and Rutgers in the standings would be an embarrassment.
Timothy Eatman, still sorting out his lineup and perhaps his coaching, has used 12 different starters and has no one averaging more than 29 minutes a game and four averaging 20+. By comparison, Lindsay Whalen, still sorting out her lineup and perhaps her coaching, has used 8 different starters and has one player, Sara Scalia, averaging more than 32 minutes per game and four averaging more than 20+.
While Rutgers is a struggling team, there are potential problems lurking for the Gophers.
In a game of matchups, one of the first to watch is Osh Brown versus Rose Micheaux. The 6’1” Brown is a fiendish rebounder who is averaging 9.1 rebounds per game. Brown had 9 points and 19 rebounds against Harvard and 20 and 20 versus DePaul. The Ball State transfer arrived in Rutgers as the NCAA’s leader in total rebounds and double double’s. And Brown’s back up is 6’5” center Sakima Walker. Walker, a former high school teammate of Alexis Smith, is due for a break-out game. Helgren should look forward to preventing one.
Rutger’s other starting post is 6’1” Tyia Singleton. Singleton matches up with Kadi Sissoko in more ways than one. Both are prone to turnovers and fouls. Sissoko is the much superior player-if she can stay on the court. Singleton averages 19 minutes and 6 points per game.
The point guard spot features 5’10” Shug Dickson versus Jasmine Powell. Dickson spent one season at Missouri following two seasons at Tulsa. At Missouri, her 4 assists/game were 7th in the SEC. This season Dickson had an excellent game against Maryland with 18 points, five rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. She’s also adept at throwing the occasional no-looker. Jasmine’s certainly has the better offense; but Powell needs to keep the pressure on Dickson. Or, perhaps, Dickson who was unavailable for the Purdue game will be unavailable on Thursday.
The match up of three-point specialists should be a rout. Bradley transfer Lasha Petree was a two-time First Team All-MVC selection following her Freshman of the Year award. Petree was also an MVC All-Defensive team member. Petree leads Rutgers shooting 14-42 from three. Okay, stop snickering. Yes, Sara Scalia should dominate the offensive side of this battle.
Of course, both coaches have a mix and match approach to in game decisions; so we can expect some unusual combos as Eatman and Whalen look for a path to that first B1G win.
RUTGERS B1G RECORD (0-3):
Losses: Maryland 59-73, @ Penn State 48-52 and @ Purdue 58-60.
Shug Dickson Last Six Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Maryland 18 5 5 33 4 Penn State 10 6 5 37 0 Delaware State 2 2 6 20 1 Cent. Conn. St. DNP Wagner 6 0 8 32 2 Purdue DNP
Tyia Singleton Last Six Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Maryland 10 12 0 31 4 Penn State 12 5 1 17 5 Delaware St. 8 4 0 20 3 Cent. Conn. St. 16 9 0 31 1 Wagner 13 7 0 22 2 Purdue 2 2 0 13 3
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 5’10” G GS Shug Dickson 28,8 8,1 3.6 6’2” F RJr Tyia Singleton 18,7 8,1 3,6 6’1” F GS Osh Brown 27,9 8,2 8,9 6’0” G Sr Lasha Petree 21.3 6.3 3.3 5’9” G GS Jailyn Mason 24.5 3.6 2.1 5’8” G GS Victoria Morris 13.1 4.9 .7
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 6’5” C Sr Sakima Walker 13.1 5.6 3.1 5’10” G GS Sayawni Lassiter 16.3 3.2 2.1 5’11” G Jr Awa Sidibe 10.3 4.1 2.0 6’3” F So Chyna Cornwell 7.8 2.6 1.8 6’0” G RSo Joiya Maddox 13.6 2.4 1.0