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Preview: MSU women's basketball looks to add to Big Ten win streak, will play Rutgers away

January 29, 2024
<p>Michigan State Women’s Basketball team takes on Purdue at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Jan. 24, 2024. Graduate student Moira Joiner makes a layup for MSU.</p>

Michigan State Women’s Basketball team takes on Purdue at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Jan. 24, 2024. Graduate student Moira Joiner makes a layup for MSU.

After going winning their two most recent home games -- defeating the Purdue Boilermakers and most recently routing the Michigan Wolverines 82-61 -- the Michigan State Spartans are once again hitting the road. This time, the Spartans will be heading off to Piscataway to face off against Rutgers University

With back-to-back wins, the Spartans move up to 15-5 on the season overall and 5-4 in the Big Ten, marking the first time this season the Spartans hold a positive in-conference record. It has been a pattern throughout the year for Michigan State to consistently win and then lose an in-conference game, keeping the team in “purgatory” when it comes to moving up within the Big Ten. 

However, the Spartans now stand fifth in the Big Ten right now after overtaking in-state rivals Michigan for the spot

The win over the Wolverines was a big one for the Spartans, but quickly after the game, head coach Robyn Fralick and the team had shifted their mentality to defeating the Scarlet Knights.

“We're playing for something," Fralick said. "You have to savor this and then you got to move because there’s tons of games left and this team is playing for something so we got to have a mentality around that."

The Scarlet Knights come into this matchup 6-16 overall and are still looking for their first Big Ten win of the season as they come in 0-9 within the conference. Rutgers is in the midst of an 11-game losing streak, most recently coming off of a loss to Wisconsin. Despite a late offensive push from the Scarlet Knights, they were not able to pick up their first Big Ten win. 

While Rutgers is struggling in the record category this year, the team has fared much better in its all-time record with the Spartans as the Scarlet Knights stand at a 6-8 throughout the 14-game history, but the Spartans still lead the series.

The Scarlet Knights are led at the helm by head coach Coquese Washington, who is in her second year with Rutgers. Overall, this is Washington’s 14th season as a head coach and throughout that time she has held a positive 227-205 record. However, with the last two seasons with the Scarlet Knights, Washington has recorded an 18-36 record. 

Junior guard/forward Destiny Adams leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring with 314 points scored in total on the season and is averaging 14.3 point per game, which has landed her at the No. 15 spot in scoring in all of the Big Ten. Adams also has been one of the top rebounders for the Scarlet Knights, averaging just over seven per game

Rutgers has found the majority of its success within the paint rather than racking up points from the three-point line. If the Spartans want to force the Scarlet Knights into an uncomfortable position they will want to force them to try and score from deep

While Rutgers has not been very successful, coach Fralick is making it a point that the Spartans will still take on this game like any other. Fralick understands that any game within the Big Ten regarding women’s basketball will be competitive until the very end. 

“Their game with Michigan a week ago was a two-point game with thirty seconds to go so this league is way too good,” Fralick said. “They’ve got some really good players, some good transfers that have come in and I think what stands out about them is that they play intense for 40 minutes."

Tip-off for the matchup between the Spartans and the Scarlet Knights is set for Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. inside Jersey Mike's Arena. The game will also be streamed on Big Ten Plus

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