MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 15, 2012) – Despite four players scoring in double-figures, No. 21/18 Rutgers (17-8, 6-6 BIG EAST) women’s basketball saw its halftime lead slip away as West Virginia (19-6, 9-3 BIG EAST) rallied in the second half for a 60-50 win on Wednesday night at the WVU Coliseum.
Junior center Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) scored 14 points to lead Rutgers against the Mountaineers. Senior guard Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) chipped 13 points and nine rebounds, while junior guard Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) and senior guard April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.) added 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Scarlet Knights led by as much as 11 points with 10:40 to play in the first half, eventually closing out the period with a seven-point advantage at halftime (31-24). Oliver scored all 14 of her points in the first half, including 12 of 17 for RU points during an 11-minute span.
The second half was a seesaw battle featuring four ties and seven lead changes. Foul trouble for the Scarlet Knights provided a big momentum shift in the half as both Oliver and freshman center Christa Evans (Jackson, N.J.) fouled out with five minutes left to play. The pair was neutralized much of the second half, going in and out of the game with fouls. Without its two post players, the Mountaineers were able to take advantage of the size inside, outscoring the Scarlet Knights in the paint 16-4 in the half.
Rutgers continued to make a push as Sykes connected on a pair of three pointers, twice swinging the lead back into the Scarlet Knights’ favor but her shot with 4:41 to play would give RU its final lead of the game at 48-47. The Mountaineers responded with a 13-2 run to close out the contest, going 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
Rutgers will wrap up its two-game road trip at Villanova on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 12 p.m.
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