INDIANAPOLIS, IND. - The Rutgers women’s basketball team bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament with a 61-55 loss to Wisconsin during the First Round on Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Despite trailing Wisconsin by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, Rutgers rallied back to cut the margin to single-digits with less than a minute to go in the contest. The Badgers, however, were able to hold off the Scarlet Knights comeback.
Junior guard Shrita Parker led Rutgers with a game and career-high 24 points in the contest. Sophomore guard Khadaizha Sanders followed with 11 points, while sophomore center Victoria Harris posted 10 points to round out the double-figure scorers.
Avyanna Young registered 20 points to lead the Badgers, including a 10-for-12 showing at the free throw line. Marsha Howard followed with 10 points in the win.
After the score remained knotted, 2-2, for the first three minutes of play, Wisconsin’s Young went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to give the Badgers a 5-2 lead at the 6:46 minute mark. Sanders responded with a 4-0 run of her own to give Rutgers the lead at 6-5 with 3:39 to go in the first quarter. Wisconsin though would close the frame with nine unanswered points, four of which came from the charity stripe, to reclaim the lead at 14-6.
Kendra Van Leeuwen opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer for the Badgers, but Rutgers would respond with four points from Harris to cut the margin back to single-digits, 17-10 with 6:58 on the clock. That would be as close as Rutgers would come for the remainder of the first half, as Wisconsin went on to carry a 27-13 lead into the locker room.
Despite the Scarlet Knights edging the Badgers, 23-21, in the third quarter, Wisconsin held the margin to double-digits. The Badgers set their largest lead of the night at 27-26 with 2:47 to go in the frame, but soon after, Rutgers responded with a 10-1 run. The Scarlet Knights diminished the 20-point margin as Parker beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to set the score, 49-36, at the end of three.
Wisconsin managed to regrow its lead to as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter. Trailing 57-42 with 4:04 left in the game, Parker fueled the RU offense contributing all points in a 10-2 run to pull the Scarlet Knights within single digits. The Scarlet Knights trailed, 52-49, with less than a minute left in the game but would be unable to close the gap.
Rutgers concludes the season at 6-24 overall.
- Shrita Parker led Rutgers in scoring for the 17th time this season and reached double digits for the 19th time in 2016-17. She was RU’s top scorer in the final seven games to end the season.
- Parker logged a career-high 24 points marking the third time this season she poured in 20 or more points in a game. Her previous high was 20 in back-to-back contests with Michigan State (Jan. 14) and Iowa (Jan. 17). The 24 points were the most scored by a Scarlet Knight in a game this season.
- Parker finished 7-of-8 from the free throw line and ends the year at 70-of-81 (.864) from the stripe this season. She puts her name third on the Rutgers single season free throw percentage list.
- Khadaizha Sanders registered five assists marking the 13th time this year with five or more helpers.
- Sanders concluded the season with 124 assists, averaging 4.1 assists per game. She places her name in a tie for eighth place on sophomore assists list.
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