Rutgers Women's Basketball vs. Delaware State
Kaylene Smikle (Photo by Nicole Mehl - JSN)

Rutgers women’s basketball defeats Delaware State

Kaylene Smikle scored a career-high 33 points to lead Rutgers to an 82-48 win against Delaware State Wednesday at Jersey Mike's Arena. The win was the Scarlet Knights' fourth win this season and brought back some positivity after losses on the road last week.

The starting lineup looked slightly different for the Scarlet Knights. Erica Lafayette started in place of Antonia Bates, and Lisa Thompson made her third consecutive start at point guard due to Mya Petticord's injury.

The Knights were off to a slow start and could not capitalize on offense, allowing the Hornets to score the first few points. After a timeout and some substitutions, Rutgers stepped back on the court, ready to put some points on the board. Destiny Adams recorded the first two points, and Kaylene Smikle followed with a crowd-pleasing three-pointer.

The rest of the first quarter saw Rutgers battling back while Delaware State remained strong. The Hornets led 20-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The Scarlet Knights came back out for the second quarter looking much more put together and ready to play. Smikle was able to get open around the perimeter to net three-pointers and lead her team in scoring. Chyna Cornwell held a solid interior presence, collecting rebounds and scoring points. Rutgers got their groove back after cleaning up the sloppiness of play in the first quarter. At the half, the Scarlet Knights led 41-27 over the Hornets, who only managed to score seven points in the second quarter.

The Knights were looking to return from the half with a more connected mindset. They lacked communication in the first quarter and needed to play as a unit to secure the win.

"We subbed a bit and talked about playing to a higher standard," Rutgers head coach Coquese Washington mentioned. "We played a lot of basketball. We're a little tired, but we have to be overcomers".

Rutgers started the second half very strong and in a good defensive stance. They successfully got rebounds and used the ball in transition to pad their lead.

"We settled into it, and we were more disciplined. Communicating more helped us transition to have a better offense," Smikle added.

Adams helped the Scarlet Knights move the ball inside while Jillian Huerter kept her eyes peeled, looking for open players. Smikle continued to be a firecracker, scoring multiple three-pointers in the second half and moving the ball to create opportunities for her teammates.

"We want to be a team that shares the ball," Washington stated. "It's about learning how to use each other and play together so that we maximize everybody's potential."

Rutgers dominated the rest of the contest as Adams and Thompson added eleven points early in the third quarter to extend the lead to 23. The Knights continued scoring but allowed the Hornets to net a few points during the quarter. Rutgers shot a perfect 6-for-6 and pushed their 63-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

The last ten minutes of the game were very successful for the Scarlet Knights, increasing their lead to 76-45. After Smikle and Lafayette each netted a few points, the game's fate was sealed.

Smikle finished with a career-high 33 points, leading her team in scoring all season. The game marked her first 30+ point performance and her 32nd game scoring double digits. She ended the afternoon scoring 13-for-20 from the field and 5-for-9 from beyond the arc. Cornwell secured her third double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

"We played the best basketball we played since the season started, and I'm really proud of everybody for really locking in and being committed to what we're trying to do as a team," Adams added.

What’s Next For Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights are now 4-5 on the season and will take on Lafayette on Friday in Piscataway, hoping to continue their success into the rest of the season. They open Big Ten conference play in less than two weeks.

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