By Ayah Houshieh
Rutgers women’s basketball suffered a tough loss against #11 ranked University of Tennessee today. The Scarlet Knights got off to a hot start when center Rachel Hollivay scored the first basket of the afternoon, and they led the Lady Volunteers most of the game up until the last few minutes.
In the first half, Tennessee did not have much luck in scoring baskets with many of their shots bouncing in and out of the basket. It was a tight game most of the evening with Rutgers leading by three points at the end of the first half.
There was no shortage of foul calls during this game. The officials were not slow with the whistle during the game including a play where a Tennessee player seemingly fell over with Laney being called for it.
Tennessee came back in hard at the start of the second half, out-rebounding Rutgers. Rebounds were a big story all game long, as the Scarlet Knights couldn’t come out of the game with the edge as they have so often this season Tennessee out-rebounded Rutgers 54-42 and 27-13 in the second half.
This game certainly was one to highlight sophomore Tyler Scaife’s athleticism. With 22 points on the game, she led all scorers in the game. Unfortunately for Scaife and the Knights, no one else came close to matching her production.
The game really came down to fouls at the very end when Rutgers could not keep possession of the ball. A small window of opportunity to close the deficit with five minutes left in regulation time was not met by Rutgers as they couldn’t score in the final minutes.
Tennessee played a man-to-man defense until switching to zone and closing in on a 16-2 run as Rutgers missed ten out of their last eleven shots. Scaife partners up with Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney to score a combined 11 points. Laney evidently was experiencing some effect from a thumb injury in the first half.
Much of the points lost were due to lack of rebounding. “We stopped rebounding. We just lost focus,” Coach Vivian Stringer said about Tennessee out rebounding Rutgers in the game. “We as a team need to do a much better job. We will be rebounding the next game, I can guarantee that because that’s where the game is lost.”
Stringer says this loss was more devastating than their 96-93 double-overtime loss to #6 North Carolina.
“This one personally hurt more. “This one is not sitting well with me,” Stringer said. “We weren’t clicking on even two cylinders, or even three cylinders and that’s disappointing that this would happen in this game on this particular stage. Compared to North Carolina, this one bothers me a lot more.”
C. Vivian Stringer and the Scarlet Knights face off next against Iona on December 20th. Tip off is at at 2 p.m. eastern standard time, make sure you tune into that game on 88.7 WRSU-FM, or catch the game at radio.rutgers.edu.