Stringer Honored, No. 4 Ohio State Women Defeat Rutgers 82-70 | Colleague

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — With Rutgers in the running for No. 4 Ohio State, Rebeka Mikulasikova and Taylor Mikesell wouldn’t let the Buckeyes lose.

Mikulasikova scored a career-high 31 points and Taylor Mikesell added 30 to help the Buckeyes beat Rutgers 82-70 on Sunday, a day the Scarlet Knights honored former coach C. Vivian Stringer.

“We were playing against each other and taking scoring opportunities when they came our way,” Mikesell said. “We made some really big plays down the stretch.”

Mikesell was excited that Ohio State could be there when Rutgers dedicated his court to Stringer, who retired after last season at the age of 74 years.

“She is a legend in women’s basketball, especially here,” Mikesell said. “To be able to be here and honor her was great.”

There have been only a handful of schools that have named their courts after women’s basketball coaches, including Tennessee for Pat Summitt, North Carolina State for Kay Yow, Arkansas-Little Rock for Joe Foley, and DePaul for Doug Bruno.

Stringer was present and at halftime his family and many former players gathered on the field to celebrate the opening of the field. Rutgers officials gave Stringer a piece of the field their teams played on as a gift.

“The first thing for us was to go out there and put on a great performance for Coach Stringer,” Rutgers coach Coquese Washington said. “This may be the last time she sees a game at Jersey Mike’s Arena and we wanted our performance to reflect what she invested in this university and program during her time here.”

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Buoyed by the return of their Hall of Fame coach, Rutgers played their best game of the season against a ranked opponent. Ohio State (8-0) jumped out to a 20-6 lead after one quarter, but the Scarlet Knights (4-6) didn’t go away.

They were down 18 near the end of the half before Kaylene Smikle hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 43-28. Rutgers continued that momentum in the second half and made it 53-45 with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter.

Mikulasikova and Mikesell then scored the next six points for Ohio State to restore the double-digit lead, and Rutgers was unable to recover.

“No Big Ten game is going to be easy,” Mikesell said. “Having the victory is important and there are many things that we must fix. Coming on tour, you can’t go into an arena and play like we did and win most nights.”

Smikle led Rutgers with 21 points.

Ohio State was missing guard Jacy Sheldon (foot injury). She is averaging 16 points per game.

TIPS

Rutgers has struggled this season against ranked opponents, going 0-3. The Scarlet Knights also lost to Tennessee and Texas by an average of 39 points. … The No. 4 ranking is the highest for Ohio State since January 2010, when the team was fourth for one week.

TRIBUTES

Throughout the game, Rutgers played video tributes to Stringer, including from South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer and former player Essence Carson.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Ohio State hosts New Hampshire on Thursday.

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Rutgers visits Illinois on Wednesday.


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