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Preview: Revitalized Rutgers takes to the road to face LSU

C. Vivian Stringer’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights are off to one of their best starts in recent seasons. They’ll have a tough matchup on Sunday against the LSU Lady Tigers — a team with a high-energy senior forward and an aggressive mentality.

Rutgers v Maryland
C. Vivian Stringer and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights are off to a 4-0 start on the season.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are off to a great start to the 2019-20 season, sitting at a perfect 4-0. Next up for C. Vivian Stringer’s squad: a road game against the 4-1 LSU Lady Tigers this Sunday.

While not many would consider Rutgers’ first stretch of non-conference games to be power-packed — the Scarlet Knights have won their first four games by an average of 43.2 points per contest, per Her Hoop Stats — it’s still nice to see dominance from a program that has been fighting to regain national relevance. Rutgers went just 6-24 in 2016-17, leading some to question whether the legendary Stringer was nearing the end of her venerable coaching tenure. She led Rutgers to at least 20 wins in each season since, including a 7-seed appearance at last season’s NCAA Tournament while Stringer was on a medical leave of absence.

Thankfully, Stringer is healthy, and the Scarlet Knights appear to be in great shape as well. The transfer of guard Arella Guirantes from Texas Tech in late 2017 is paying dividends. Her 21.8 points per game leads Rutgers, a team that typically plays a slow, low-scoring brand of basketball.

The future of the program seems to be bright, too. Along with a terrific incoming recruiting class, Stringer landed post player Maori Davenport, who recently won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championships. Getting to play for such an esteemed coach is certainly a feel-good story for Davenport, who was infamously ruled ineligible to play her senior season of high school after the championships.

Davenport and the rest of her frontcourt mates will have their hands full on Sunday with LSU’s Ayana Mitchell. The senior forward is one of the fiercest rebounders in the country, a major reason she made our list of 20 WNBA Draft prospects to watch for this season. Per Her Hoop Stats, Mitchell ranks in the 98th percentile in offensive rebounding rate; she has grabbed at least four offensive rebounds in four of LSU’s five games this season. Mitchell also is averaging seven free-throw attempts per game. As a team, LSU has scored about 22.4 percent of its points from the foul line this season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 SEC Conference Women’s Tournament - LSU vs Tennessee
LSU forward Ayana Mitchell
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here’s how to watch the game:

Game information

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-0) vs. LSU Lady Tigers (4-1)

When: Sunday, Nov. 24 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA

How to watch: SEC Network