Coach Stringer admitted she didn’t really know what her team would do in its season opener on Friday morning. Like all other programs, Rutgers is adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines and a new atmosphere of cardboard cut-outs in the stands as fans.
Rutgers simply dominated with an 83-38 win against Monmouth. Here are some takeaways and notes from the game.
Arella Guirantes is on a different level.
Arella’s dominance was felt right away and often, finishing with a calm 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor. Guirantes picked up right where she left off last season as the Big Ten’s leading scorer, knocking down threes and finishing on strong, creative drives to the basket.
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Diamond Johnson is ready for college basketball.
Though her entrance came quickly as a result of early foul trouble from Zippy Broughton, Diamond Johnson showed what she can do to help this team offensively.
She knocked down her first shot attempt off the dribble after a broken play. Diamond went on to hit three out of her four three-point attempts and finished with 15 points in her Rutgers debut.
This team has improved at both ends.
Rutgers has two serviceable bigs in Tyia Singleton and the touted freshman Sakima Walker, who chipped in five points, a rebound, a block, and a steal in 11 minutes on the floor, was impressive in her limited time.
Freshman wing Liz Martino scored 10 points including a pair of threes in 12 minutes.
The ball seemed to move with more energy and intent than last season. While starters Tekia Mack and Mael Giles shot a combined 2-for-13 from three, their shots were mostly in the rhythm of solid reads and ball movement. Rutgers still managed to knock down 10 threes for the game on 32 attempts.
There will be bigger challenges and moments ahead, but with new weapons, and overall improvements, this season-opening win can turn into a statement for the season.