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No. 17/16 Rutgers Women’s Basketball Upended By St. John’s, 61-52
Scarlet Knights drop fourth-straight game for first time since 2003-04
  • Posted on February 12, 2012 8:29:24 PM
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  • Khadijah Rushdan
    Khadijah Rushdan led Rutgers with 17 points.
    Tom Ciszek/NJSportsPhoto

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 12, 2012) – No. 17/16 Rutgers women’s basketball came up short against St. John’s, 61-52, on Sunday evening at the RAC. Junior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) recorded her team-leading fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds, while senior Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) scored a team-high 17 points in her first game back from injury.

    The Scarlet Knight clawed back to pull within four with 0:48 remaining in the contest after being down by as many as 17 in the second half, but were unable to complete the comeback. With the loss, Rutgers has dropped four-straight and five of its last seven, to move to 6-5 in the BIG EAST and 17-7 overall.

    The Scarlet Knights’ shooting troubles continued in the opening half, going 6-for-30 from the floor (.200), but RU’s post presence kept them in the game early. Freshman forward Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) and Oliver each tallied five points apiece, bringing RU within five at 18-13, with 5:31 remaining in the opening period. Oliver was forced to the bench after picking up her second fouls as the Red Storm went on a 14-6 run – shooting 6-for-7 from the floor – to close out the half and take a 32-19 lead into the break.

    Laney finished with all nine of her points coming in the opening half, while Oliver pulled down seven of her game-high 11 boards.

    Rutgers began its charge at the Red Storm advantage behind its point guard Rushdan – who returned to the lineup for the first time in three games. Rushdan opened the half with the first 10 Scarlet Knight points. The Wilmington, Del., native brought RU back within 10, 39-29, on a layup with 12:57 remaining on the clock. Rushdan went a perfect three-for-three from the floor and four-for-five from the free throw line during the run.

    St. John’s was able to build its lead back to 16 points, but that did not stop the Scarlet Knights from making another run. The RU defense kicked into gear, holding the Red Storm without a field goal in the final 7:06 of the contest, allowing Rutgers to pick apart STJ’s lead.

    A pair of jumpers from Rushdan brought RU within eight, 55-47 – following layups by April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.) and Oliver and a trey from Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) – with 2:41 remaining. On the ensuing possession Oliver connected on a layup and drew the foul, but was unable to complete the old-fashioned three-point play.

    The Scarlet Knight brought themselves within four, 56-52, after a pair of free throws from Sykes with 0:48 remaining. Eugenia McPherson missed both free throws for the Red Storm, but STJ retained possession on a RU miscue. Nadirah McKenith made one of two free throws, allowing RU to run in transition and find an open Sykes for three, but the shot was too strong and McKenith grabbed the rebound to solidify the victory for the Red Storm, who improved to 17-8 on the season and 9-3 in league play. McKenith went a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe to close the game.

    RU returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., against West Virginia.  

    GAME NOTES

    • Sunday marked RU’s annual Play4Kay pink game. The Scarlet Knights wore pink uniforms to help raise breast cancer awareness in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the official charity of the initiative 

    • The Scarlet Knights dropped its fourth-straight – marking the first time since the 2003-04 season that RU has dropped four in a row. The loss also marked the third at home this season, the most in a campaign by Rutgers since the 2009-10 season

    • Rutgers went cold in the opening period, going 5:32 in between buckets. RU shot six-for-30 from the floor in the first half, its lowest percentage in the opening stanza of a game since it shot five-for-33 (.152) in the first half against Texas A&M on Dec. 19, 2010 

    • For the game Rutgers shot at a .279 clip from the floor, its worst percentage since Dec. 19, 2010 against Texas A&M when RU finish 13-for-49 (.265)

    • Rutgers connected on just its second three-point field goal since the Georgetown game. The Scarlet Knights are two-for-36 (.056) from beyond the arc in its last four games

    • Rutgers’ defense held St. John’s without a field goal in the final 7:06 of the game to come within four points with 0:48 on the clock, after being down by as many as 17 points in the second half

    • The Scarlet Knights 33 point second-half was the most points scored in a half by RU since it played DePaul

    • With Monique Oliver being sent to the bench after picking up her second foul of the first half (5:31), the Red Storm was able to go on a 14-6 run – shooting 6-for-7 from the floor in the final 5:31 of the half

    • Rutgers senior point guard Khadijah Rushdan returned to the lineup after missing the second half against Georgetown and all the Notre Dame and Connecticut games due to injury. The Scarlet Knights went 0-3 in her absence and are 3-3 all-time without Rushdan in the lineup

    • Khadijah Rushdan returned for the 127th game of her career, tying Telicher Austin (1985-89) for 11th place in RU’s record books for career games played

    • The Scarlet Knights welcomed back Khadijah Rushdan into the lineup. The senior exploded for 17 points, her 15th double-digit scoring game of the season

    • Khadijah Rushdan moved into sixth place all-time at RU in career free throws attempted with career total of 504, surpassing Tanya Hansen (1988-92) who has 501

    • Monique Oliver fouled out with 1:40 remaining in the contest. Oliver has fouled out five times in her career and twice this season – the other coming in the season-opener against California

    • Monique Oliver finished the night with her team-leading fifth double-double of the season, 11 points and 14 rebounds. Oliver has nine career double-doubles and has reached double-digit points in nine of the last 10 games

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