PRINCETON, N.J. (November 29, 2012) -- The Rutgers women’s basketball team had its three-game win streak come to a halt with a 71-55 loss at Princeton Thursday night at Jadwin Gym.
The Scarlet Knights, who suffered their first loss to the Tigers since 1976, fall to 3-2 on the season. Princeton, winners of the last three Ivy League titles, improved to 4-2 overall.
The Tigers led wire-to-wire opening the game with a 7-4 lead and never looking back. The Scarlet Knights trailed by as many as 19 in the first half as the Tigers led 30-11 with just under six minutes left until the half.
Senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) followed by muscling her way to the basket on back-to-back trips down the court and sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) got her hands on the ball for a steal leading to an open lay-up for senior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) for a small 6-0 RU run to cut their deficit to 13. However, Rutgers went into the locker room trailing Princeton, 38-22.
The Tigers extended their lead to 25, 51-26, with 13:33 left in the game. Rutgers pulled to within 12 late in the game thanks in part to 10 Tigers turnovers leading to nine Scarlet Knight points.
RU was led by Oliver with 12 points and six rebounds. She also swatted away a trio of Tiger shots to take over fifth place on the Rutgers all-time blocks leaders list. Sophomore Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) came off the bench for 10 points. Wheeler added in nine points and a season-high five steals.
Princeton’s Alex Wheatley came off the bench to lead all scorers with 17 points. Preseason Ivy League Player of the Year Niveen Rasheed has 15 in the win and Kristen Helmstetter was the third Tiger in double digits with 14 points.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team is on the road again and will play at Boston College on Sunday, December 2 at 1:00 p.m.
It was the fourth different starting line-up used this season against Princeton on Thursday night. Freshman Kaleah Copper garnered her first career starting nod, while Erica Wheeler continues to be the lone Scarlet Knight to have appeared in all five line-ups.
Monique Oliver had three blocks against the Tigers to take sole possession of fifth place on the RU career block leaders list. She now has 151 rejections in her four-year career at RU. Tanya Hansen (1988-92) is fourth on the all-time list with 245 career blocks.
RU trailed Princeton, 51-26, with 13:33 left in the game with the 25-point deficit making it the largest deficit the Knights have had this season. The previous mark was 15 against Davidson in RU’s previous contest. The 16-point deficit was also the Knights’ largest halftime deficit this season with the previous mark of 10 coming at #10/11 Georgia in the season opener. The 38 points by the Tigers at the half were also the most RU has allowed an opponent at the intermission.
SECOND HALF SILVER LINING:
Both Rutgers and Princeton scored 33 points in the second the second half. After going 0-for-2 in first half action, Shakena Richardson came off the bench to notch 10 second half points shooting 3-of-5, including a three, from the floor and connecting on3-of-4 at the line.
HEAD COACH C. VIVIAN STRINGER:
On Thursday’s game with Princeton:
“This is a very good team. The way they execute, they pass, they cut, they do all the little things. It takes a team like that to expose yourself. It serves to let us see what the intensity needs to be as seen in the last 10 minutes. Not that Princeton is poor, because they are very good, but we probably needed this game because it allowed the freshmen to see their mistakes on the defensive side of the ball and know more offensively what to do. As for upperclassman, there needs to be more of that leadership that they are capable of. Our basic attitude is the ‘new Scarlet Knights’ and it has to be. If it’s going be, it’s good we did not get halfway through the season and think we were there, because we know we are not. “
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I enjoy this group. I’ll enjoy it more when we are successful and that will only come when we accept that fact there’s a lot the we have to know. I think they are really trying. Maybe now we can get a little more attention to detail from everyone from the senior straight through.”
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