PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 21, 2012) – No. 24/20 Rutgers women’s basketball had three players score in double-digits en route to a 62-39 victory against Seton Hall on Tuesday night at the RAC. Senior April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.) led the trio with a team-high 17 points and five rebounds.
Rutgers has won two-straight to improve to 19-8 on the season and 8-6 in the BIG EAST play, while the Pirates fall to 7-21 on the year and 0-14 in conference.
RU started cold from the floor in the early going, shooting 4-for-13 in the first 12 minutes of the game allowing the Pirates to take a two-point lead (13-11) with 7:56 remaining in the opening period. Junior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) awoke the Scarlet Knights, who ended the half by draining six of its next 13 shots for a 17-6 run. Wheeler connected on three-of-four from beyond the arc during the spurt, helping Rutgers to a 28-19 advantage at the break.
Rutgers exploded in the second half, scoring 21 of the first 25 points, capped off by a pair of Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) free throws to extend RU’s lead to 49-23. The Scarlet Knights would pull ahead by as many as 29 points in the second-half, following a jumper by Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.), as RU defeated Seton Hall for the 12th-straight meeting. Laney scored all eight of her points in the second half.
Rushdan ended the night with 15 points and four assists, while Wheeler chipped in 11 and senior Nikki Speed (Pasadena, Calif.) had a season-high seven.
The Scarlet Knights converted 18 Pirate turnovers into 31 points, while only turning the ball over nine times – their fewest since Dec. 13, 2011 against Tennessee.
RU returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 25, when it travels to Providence College to take on the Friars. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., at Alumni Hall.
- RU extends its winning streak against Seton Hall to 12-straight games and 17 of the last 18 meetings.
- Tonight’s 35-39 RU advantage on the boards marked the first time Rutgers outrebounded back-to-back opponents since the USF game, when it had a streak of five-straight games.
- The Scarlet Knights found its three-point range, connecting on 7-for-20 behind the arc, for a 35.0 shooting percentage, its highest clip since the USF game when it went 6-for-15. The night marked only the seventh time all season that RU attempted more three-pointers than its opponents.
- Rutgers committed just nine turnovers on the night, its lowest number since it played Tennessee earlier this season.
- RU’s 25 point points off of turnover margin matched its highest of the season, also coming against Pittsburgh. Rutgers forced Seton Hall into 18 turnovers, converting into 31 points, 18 coming in the second half.
- April Sykes, Khadijah Rushdan and Erica Wheeler have scored in double-digit points the past three games. The three are combining for 42.0 points per game during the span.
- April Sykes and Khadijah Rushdan both moved up on RU’s all-time scoring list on the night. Sykes’ 17 points pushed her past Denise Kenney and Jennie Hall, moving into 25th all-time. Rushdan overtook Patty Coyle for the 22nd spot. Rushdan all moved up a spot in career free throws made, moving into fifth with 360. With today’s game Rushdan is now tied for fourth all-time for career games played under the Rutgers women’s program.
- Freshman Syessence Davis pulled down a career-high six rebounds on the night, while senior Nikki Speed drained a season-high seven points.
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