NEW YORK (December 9, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team shot a blistering 61.5 percent from the floor to take home a 73-46 win over Louisiana Tech Sunday in their fifth appearance at the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The Scarlet Knights were shooting over 64 percent from the world’s most famous arena’s floor until the final minute of the game. Rutgers connected on 32-of-52 from the field in its best performance from the floor since shooting 58.7 percent against Farmingdale State on Feb. 11, 2009 in a 85-25 victory.
Rutgers dominated the paint from the inside presence of seniors Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) and Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.), who each netted double figures with 14 and 11 points respectively. The duo helped the Scarlet Knights to 38 points in the paint.
Rutgers also showed its depth in the victory with nearly every Knight scoring in the victory. The bench racked up 40 points led by Lee and sophomore Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) with nine points along with her career-high six assists.
The Scarlet Knights improved to 5-3 heading into a three-game home stand. Louisiana Tech meanwhile fell to 2-5 on the year. It was the Scarlet Knights’ first win over the Lady Techsters at the Garden having previously met up with Louisiana Tech in the Manufacturer’s Hanover Tournament in the early 80’s at the world’s most famous arena.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. Taking advantage of Lady Techsters turnovers, Rutgers was able to score 20 of its 36 first half points off opponent miscues.
Ahead by 10 points, 23-13 with 4:40 left in the first half, Rutgers held Louisiana Tech without a field goal for nearly three minutes while outscoring the Lady Techsters, 11-1. Oliver accounted for six points during the run leading to her 10 first half points.
Although Louisiana Tech scored the next six straight points, Rutgers headed into the locker room with a 36-22 advantage.
The Lady Techsters closed the gap back to 10 with 16:48 remaining in the game and Rutgers holding on to a 40-30 edge. From there, Lee went on a tear scoring six of the Scarlet Knights’ next eight points and feeding guard Richardson on the other basket. Louisiana Tech would not get any closer than 15.
Lady Techster Jasmine Bryant led all scorers with 16 points and narrowly missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Kelia Shelton had 10 points off the bench. Seven of those points came at the line.
The Scarlet Knights women’s basketball team returns home for its next three games. Rutgers hosts Southern on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the RAC.
COUNTDOWN TO 900:
With the 73-46 win over Louisiana Tech, Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer needs only 10 more victories for her 900th career win. She is now 890-321 in her 42-year career and 370-186 in her 18th season “on the banks”.
AT THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS ARENA:
Rutgers improved to 5-10 at Madison Square Garden with the 76-46 victory, recording its first win over the Lady Techster in its three meetings at the world’s most famous arena. Additionally, the Scarlet Knights improved to 3-2 at the Maggie Dixon Classic.
Senior Monique Oliver collected a season-high four blocks against the Lady Techsters to bring her total to 158 career blocks. She needs 42 more becomes to become the fourth Scarlet Knight in history with over 1,000 career points and 200 career blocks.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer used the same starting line-up used against LIU Brooklyn Thursday night consisting of Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, Betnijah Laney, Christa Evans, and Monique Oliver.
FIRED UP IN THE FIRST HALF:
The Scarlet Knights have combined for 75 first half points in their last two games with 37 points against LIU Brooklyn Thursday night and 36 Sunday against La Tech at the Maggie Dixon Classic. The 36 points scored by the Scarlet Knights in the opening half was just one point shy of their season high of 37 captured in their win over LIU Brooklyn Thursday night.
FIRE KEEPS BURNING IN THE SECOND HALF.
The 37 points scored by Rutgers against Louisiana Tech ties the season mark for points in a half. The Scarlet Knights outscored LIU Brooklyn 37-19 in the first half Thursday night.
DISHING AND SWISHING:
In addition to scoring a season-high 73 points, the Scarlet Knights also dished out the ball a season-high 22 times. It was the most assists by Rutgers since also capturing 22 assists against North Carolina A&T on Nov. 22, 2010.
Shakena Richardson captured a new career mark with six assists in Sunday’s win. She dished out the ball six times surpassing her previous high of four, previously recorded on three different occasions. Richardson, who has averaged 5.0 assists in the last two wins, was one point of her career-mark with nine points.
Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On team shooting:
“It was good because we had just not been shooting well. We’ve been talking about identity and who we are. I think you can see that we press; that’s just the way we play. But we also are looking for an identity offensively. Most people will look at our team and they’ll say, 'This team needs to be running.' Well, believe it or not, I’ve always encouraged them to run; I want them to run. We’ve been working on that. I think that we’ve begun to run more and play basketball, play it as we see it. We can execute patterns if we need to and we did very specifically. It was good to see us play that way. I think a couple things are helping with that. One is we’re having better competition in practice because normally our teams are seven or eight people. Now, we have ten or twelve and that allows for competition and it’s amazing how competition brings out the best in you. Another thing is freshmen. We have three seniors and the rest are freshmen and sophomores. It’s good to see them confident. It’s good to see the upperclassmen cheering for them and trying to get it together because we are going to need that.”
Forward Chelsey Lee
On Rutgers’ play:
“We were under a lot of pressure just to work on our turnovers and make sure we come out with energy. That’s a problem that we’ve been having over the years; Rutgers being a second half team and never performing in the first half. I think today we definitely came out playing like the first half was the second half and we actually put two halves together for the first time. Both halves we had extreme energy from the bench to the players who were on the court. I think it was really good for our team.”
Forward/Center Monique Oliver
“In our past games, we didn’t come out with enough energy and how Coach Stringer wants us to play. But I think today really is a good start for us to continue to move forward and, if we bring that much energy and that much passion in the first half throughout all of our games, I think we’ll be great.”
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