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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Women’s Big East Notebook

Rutgers can still make run at the Big East title

The No. 11/12 Scarlet Knights (17-3, 6-1 Big East) responded to a 62-57 loss at St. John’s on Jan. 17 with wins at South Florida and at home against then-No. 21/19 DePaul (65-54). The win over the Blue Demons was the first of four games against ranked teams for Rutgers, which plays at No. 20/18 Georgetown (16-5, 5-3 Big East) on Sunday.

The class of the conference has been Notre Dame and Connecticut in recent years, but Rutgers has plenty of chances to overtake the Fighting Irish and Huskies in the next two weeks. Rutgers currently is tied for second with the Huskies at 6-1 in conference with everyone chasing after undefeated Notre Dame (7-0).

In the loss at St. John’s, senior guard April Sykes — the Scarlet Knights’ leading scorer at 14.4 points per game — tallied just six points on 3-of-7 shooting. Sykes responded with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting in Rutgers’ 72-66 win at South Florida on Saturday.

Sykes will have to score close to her season average for the Scarlet Knights to have a chance to win their next three games.

Other than the loss to St. John’s, Rutgers’ other losses have come at then-No. 9/9 Miami in double overtime and at home against then-No. 6/6 Tennessee, so the Scarlet Knights shouldn’t be ashamed of either of those.

Rutgers also boasts wins over Georgia Tech and Louisville and should secure a top-four finish in conference, and subsequent double-bye in the Big East Championship tournament, with winnable games in its final six contests of the year.

Jumble in the middle

Georgetown sits at 5-3 in conference play, which places it in sixth place in the Big East, while Syracuse is 2-4 in conference play. The Orange are No. 13 in the conference standings.

That means just two games separate eight teams from each other. So who will claim the final three spots and secure a bye in the first round of the Big East tournament?

If the season ended today, the Hoyas, West Virginia and South Florida would be sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Georgetown and South Florida appear to have the easiest roads ahead, with just two games against ranked teams left on their respective schedules.

The Bulls’ three conference losses have come against ranked teams and they have already beat DePaul.

Road games at Syracuse and Marquette, as well as a home game against Providence in the season finale will go a long way in determining the Bulls’ fate.

Georgetown, meanwhile, has eight games left (most have nine left) and picked up a huge 64-54 win at West Virginia on Tuesday.

The Hoyas travel to Villanova and Syracuse and host Providence in a critical three-game stretch in February. If Georgetown can upset Rutgers at home on Sunday, it should be able to lock up a bye in the conference tournament.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Syracuse still has to play four ranked teams in its final nine games, including road games at No. 16/14 Louisville and DePaul.

The Orange will almost certainly have to win at Providence and Villanova and take care of business at home against Marquette and Georgetown to have a shot at finishing in the top eight of the Big East.

Player of the week

Jasmine Wynne, senior guard, South Florida (#1)

Wynne scored 12 points and had three steals in the Bulls’ 72-66 loss against Rutgers on Jan. 21, but followed up that performance with 19 points and three steals in South Florida’s 48-43 win against Seton Hall on Saturday. For the week, the senior averaged 15.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Game of the week

Notre Dame at Rutgers, Tuesday Jan. 31

This will be the second of two contests against a ranked opponent this week for the Scarlet Knights, who travel to No. 20/18 Georgetown on Jan. 29. The Fighting Irish travel to St. John’s on Saturday before Tuesday night’s road game.

If the Scarlet Knights want to overtake the Fighting Irish for the Big East regular season title, a good place to start would be defending their home court with a win against the No. 2/2 team in the country.

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