HARTFORD, Conn. (March 4, 2012) – No. 23/19 Rutgers women’s basketball snapped a five-game win streak, falling 49-34 to third-seeded Connecticut in Sunday night’s quarterfinal matchup of the BIG EAST Championship at the XL Center.
The Scarlet Knights’ (23-8, 10-6 BIG EAST) defense held the Huskies to its lowest point total in conference tournament play since 2004, however its offense continued to struggle tonight as RU shot 24.4 percent from the floor, its lowest percentage since Feb. 5, 1997.
RU fell behind 3-0 on a trey from Carolina Doty, before junior forward Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) continued where she left off last night, laying a shot in while being surrounded by defenders. Doty responded, draining her second bucket from beyond the arc to give the Huskies a 6-2 advantage.
Connecticut continued production from three with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis pouring in a pair of threes on back-to-back possessions, extending RU’s deficit to nine (14-5) with 11:57 left in the half. The Huskies would add to its lead which grew as high as 17 in the first period, before the Scarlet Knights ended the half on a 5-0 run on a jumper from junior guard Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) and a three from senior guard April Sykes (Starkville, Miss.). UConn took a 12-point lead into the locker room, after shooting seven-for-15 (.467) from three-point range, including Mosqueda-Lewis’ 15 first half points, all coming from three.
Senior guard Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) looked to continue to cut into RU’s deficit, scoring RU’s first-two buckets of the half, but the Huskies again responded with layups from Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson to maintain the 12-point differential.
Rutgers made another push at Connecticut, pulling within eight (34-26) with 12:53 left in regulation, following a pair of free throws from Oliver and a shot banked off the glass by Wheeler. The Scarlet Knights held UConn scoreless for 7:33 during the second half, forcing four turnovers and nine missed shots during the spurt.
The three ball proved to be deadly for the Scarlet Knights again, as a pair of treys extended the lead back to 14-points (42-28) with 6:43 to go in the game. Rutgers hung around coming within eight with 3:44 left but were unable to make a final push at the Huskies.
Wheeler led RU with a team-high 13 points, while Rushdan chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds. All 34 of Rutgers’ points came from its starters.
Mosqueda-Lewis finished with a game-high 17 points and Dolson added 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
- Rutgers misses out on the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the seventh time in 17 tries and snaps a streak of two-straight semifinal appearances. The Scarlet Knights move to 23-16 in BIG EAST Tournament action
- RU falls to 1-7 all-time versus UConn in the BIG EAST Championship. The Huskies have eliminated Rutgers in each of the past two seasons
- The Scarlet Knights’ veterans continue to carry RU, accounting for 74 of Rutgers’ 76 tournament points
- Rutgers matched its lowest point total of the season with 34 points, the previous time also coming against UConn. The 34 points also marked a BIG EAST Championship low for the Scarlet Knights. RU’s 11 field goals also marked its lowest total in over 10 years
- RU shot 24.4 percent from the floor, the first time is shot lower than 25 percent since it shot .246 (15-61) on Feb. 5, 1997 versus Miami. Rutgers lost 49-41 in the contest
- Erica Wheeler hit double-digit points for the third time in BIG EAST Championship games. Her 13 points is her 10th double-figure performance of the season and the 30th of her career
- Khadijah Rushdan finished with 10 points to move into a tie for 18th all-time at RU in career points (1,272). It marked her 21st double-digit scoring performance of the season and the 64th of her career. Rushdan also moves into third place all-time in career free throws attempted
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