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Rutgers women quickly turning heads in Big Ten

Scarlet Knights hits 10 wins for first time since 2015-16

South Florida v Rutgers
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights signals to her team during a game against the South Florida Bulls in a game at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on February 26, 2013 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated South Florida 68-56 for Stringers' 900th career win.
Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

Just one year ago, Rutgers women’s basketball won only six games — the fewest in legendary head coach C. Vivian Stringer’s 46 years as a head coach.

However, as the calendar creeps toward 2018, Stringer has the Scarlet Knights in the thick of it with a 10-2 record and have received votes in the AP Top 25 in the sixth edition of the poll released Monday.

Stringer and the Scarlet Knights undoubtedly will have quite the test as the Big Ten slate is quickly approaching, but she has put her team in a position to get back to 20 wins for the 30th time since 1979. She also now sits only 13 wins shy of 1,000 career victories.

Also around the Big Ten, Iowa entered the AP Top 25 at No. 25 after another undefeated week to give the Big Ten four ranked teams — Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan and Iowa.

No. 16 Maryland won its seventh and eighth consecutive win with wins against Loyola and George Washington while setting a school record with 37 assists, including 11 by freshman guard Channise Lewis.

Nebraska had a big week with a pair of wins against undefeated Kansas and Drake, and sophomore Hannah Whitish and freshman Kate Cain earned Big Ten Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively.

In the absence of star freshman Taylor Kissinger, who hurt her knee on Nov. 30 against Clemson, Whitish has led the way for the Cornhuskers with a pair of career games. The sophomore hailing from Barneveld, Wisc. averaged 29.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game against Kansas and Drake. She is second on the team — only to Kissinger — with 12.7 points in 10 games this year.

Cain is third in scoring for the Cornhuskers with 10.9 points per game in addition to 7.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game — the third highest block per game mark in the entire country. Last week she averaged a double-double with 12.0 points and 11.5 rebounds against Kansas and Drake with 4.5 blocks per contest. The honor marks her second consecutive Freshman of the Week in the Big Ten and her third this year.

Iowa junior Megan Gustafson, Ohio State senior Kelsey Mitchell, and Rutgers senior Tyler Scaife each were named to the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll as well. Gustafson posted two double-doubles against Iowa State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff, while Kelsey Mitchell became Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer with 30 points against Florida. She now is third on the Big Ten career scoring list with 2,840 points. Scaife paved the way for Rutgers to earn three wins with 23.3 points per game against Virginia, Seton Hall and Fairleigh Dickinson.