The Boilers are in New Jersey for a battle with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers, perhaps the hottest team in the Big Ten, enter tonight’s game riding an eight-game win streak including five conference wins. The Knights (13-3, Big Ten 5-0) sit atop the Big Ten and will be one of Purdue’s toughest opponents this season.
The Boilermakers are currently tied for second place in the Big Ten with Maryland, riding a three-game win streak of their own. Purdue has most home wins in the conference, but the road has provided some hiccups. A win against the Knights could propel them to the number one spot in the Big Ten.
Scouting Rutgers’ Starting Five
Redshirt sophomore guard Arella Guirantes is a transfer from Texas Tech. She is one of Knights go-to scoring option in the back court. She is a volume shooter who is destined to get her shots up. Guirantes plays inside and out and has the range to knock down the 3.
Junior Ciani Cryor is an all-round leader and floor general for Rutgers. The 5-foot-5 guard can score the basketball, dish it to her teammates and does well on the boards. The guard is also adept at getting steals, averaging 2.9 per game. One weakness for the guard is turnovers as she averages 4.3 per game.
Fifth year guard Charise Wilson is a knockdown shooter. The 5-foot-10 guard shoots around 41 percent from the 3-point line. She’s averaging 8.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.9 points and 1.1 steals a game. The guard’s biggest weakness is at the free throw line where she has shot 61 percent.
Senior forward Stasha Carey is a low post presence. Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches, Carey averages 1.6 blocks, 10.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. One weakness for the forward is that she can sometimes find herself in foul trouble. She finishes very well around the rim and knocks down her free throws.
Senior center Victoria Harris is Rutgers' secondary low post presence. The 6-foot-3 center has started every game this season. She averages 5.1 rebounds per game and six points.
Rutgers boasts one of the best defenses in the Big Ten. The Knights lead the conference in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense, rebounding defense and steals. Rutgers also has the best offensive rebounding percentage in the Big Ten.
In order to win, Purdue will have to get things done on the glass. Rutgers has been on a tear lately from the three-point line. Since the beginning of conference play, the Knights have hit 7.4 3s a game at rate of 40.2 percent. Allowing a team this hot a second chance won't bode well for the Boilers.
Additionally, Purdue will need production from the starters and everyone coming in off the bench in order to knock off Rutgers. The Knights are very deep and can go as far down as a eight- or nine-woman rotation.
“Rutgers is unusual,” said head coach Sharon Versyp. "You look anywhere in the Big Ten they’re playing five to six kids.”
Sophomore forward Tamara Farquhar has been a huge help for the Boilers in conference play. Last time out she pulled down a career high 18 rebounds and has become a force to be reckoned with. In the last five games, she has averaged a double-double with 10.2 points and 10.2 rebounds. If she is aggressive on offense when opportunities present themselves, and dominates on the boards, she will be able to get the Knights’ bigs in foul trouble and disrupt their flow.
“Tamara has always been a big key,” said junior guard Dominque Oden. “She’s just been more low-key in the past two years, now she’s just really growing into her own and showing everybody else what the rest of us already saw. She’s a great rebounder, she’s a great defender and great player all around.”
Purdue will go face Rutgers at 7 p.m. Wednesday on BTN Plus.