|Minnesota (14-4, 3-2 B1G) at No. 21/19 Rutgers (16-3, 4-1 B1G)|
|Date / Time||Saturday, Jan. 13 // 1 p.m.|
|Location||Rutgers Athletic Center // Piscataway, N.J.|
|TV/Live Video||Big Ten Network|
|Radio||93.3 ALT FM // Listen Online // iHeart Radio App|
|Live Updates||Game Day Live|
|Game Notes||Minnesota // Rutgers|
|Official Sites||Minnesota // Rutgers|
|Social Media||@GopherWBB | Facebook | Instagram|
After a 91-71 win at Penn State Wednesday, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team (14-4, 3-2) visits No. 21/19 Rutgers (16-3, 4-1) Saturday at the Rutgers Athletic Center in hopes of going 2-0 on its East Coast trip. The game tips at 1 p.m. CT and will be broadcast nationally on Big Ten Network with Ed Cohen and Christy Winters Scott announcing.
Here are five things you need to know before tipoff:
1. Carlie Wagner and Kenisha Bell have been the Gophers' top two scorers for two seasons in a row. Bell, on the watch list for the Citizen Naismith Trophy (top player) and Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard), leads the team with averages of 20.2 points and 6.4 assists per game, the latter of which leads the B1G and ranks 13th nationally. She has scored at least 20 points in the seven of the last nine games (with two games of at least 30 points in that span) and is averaging 21.2 points per game in that span. Wagner, a Preseason All-Big Ten honoree, ranks fifth all-time on Minnesota's career scoring list with 1,918 and is 126 points away from tying Laura Coenen (2,044) for fourth. Wagner is second on the 3-point list (256) at Minnesota and is second on the team with 17.8 points per game this season.
2. Destiny Pitts has recorded double-figure points 11 times this season and has four double-doubles. She recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds in the first Big Ten game of her career at Northwestern, while at Ohio State Pitts' hot hand went a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc in the fourth quarter to finish with a career-high 28 points. Pitts has named Big Ten Freshman of the Week a league-best five time this season. She's one of just eight players in conference history to reach that number and is tied for second in school history with Rachel Banham who also had five in 2011-12. The Minnesota record belongs to Amanda Zahui B., who had seven such honors in 2013-14.
3. Minnesota's scoring average of 86.2 points per game ranks third in the Big Ten and eighth in the nation. Minnesota also leads the conference with 789 rebounds and ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.33) and fewest turnovers per game (13.1).
4. Minnesota calls the charity stripe and the three-point line home this season, ranking sixth nationally and second in the B1G in free throws made (268). The Gophers' 74.0 free-throw percentage ranks fifth in the conference. From behind the arc, Minnesota is averaging 9.3 three-point field goals per game ranking second in the B1G and 18th in the nation.
5. In the all-time series, Minnesota is 2-3 against Rutgers with the home team winning every game. Since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten, the series is even at 2-2.
SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
Rutgers enters the game with a 16-3 record on the season and 4-1 in Big Ten play. Rutgers is ranked No. 21 in the latest AP Poll and No. 19 in the Coaches Poll, though the team saw its 11-game win streak snapped after a 47-33 loss to Purdue Wednesday.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer is in her 23rd season at Rutgers and is seven wins away from reaching 1,000 for her career.
Rutgers only has one player currently averaging double figures, but Tyler Scaife's 20.8 figure ranks fourth in the conference and 19th nationally.
The Scarlet Knights boast one of the top defenses in the country, leading the conference and ranking sixth in the nation by allowing just 54.1 points per game. In addition, the team leads the B1G in steals (242), steals per game (12.7), 3-point defense (28.9 percent) and turnovers forced per game (21.2).
Rutgers is 11-0 at home this season.
LAST MEETING WITH RUTGERS
Minnesota posted a 80-46 win over Rutgers on Feb. 11 last season in Minneapolis. The point total for the Scarlet Knights remains the lowest by an opponent during the Marlene Stollings era.
The Maroon and Gold scored 32 points off 19 Rutgers turnovers, while Minnesota outscored Rutgers 49-26 in the second half.
Kenisha Bell and Gadiva Hubbard tied for the team lead with 19 points, while Carlie Wagner added 12.
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