PISCATAWAY (December 12, 2012) – Senior Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) captured a career-high 21 points as the Rutgers women’s basketball team won its third-straight with a 63-49 victory over Southern Wednesday night at the RAC.
Lee and fellow senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) once again dropped numbers in the paint combining for 37 points in the Scarlet Knights’ 14-point win. Lee, in her best game to-date since returning from last season’s shoulder injury, reset her season high by the half and ended the night with her first career 20+ point contest. The fifth-year senior scored 13 of her season-high 21 points in the first 30 minutes.
Rutgers improved to 6-3 overall as the team heads into its second match up with a Top 25 opponent hosting Miami on Sunday. Southern, meanwhile, remains winless at 0-9.
Lee gave the Scarlet Knights a double figure advantage at the 9:12 mark of the first half with a jumper near the top of the key during a run of 11-consecutive points by the 6-2 forward. She ended the first stanza going 5-of-6 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from the line.
During Lee’s streak of 11 straight points, Rutgers was in the midst of a 14-4 run, while the Jaguars were held to just one field goal and a pair of free throws.
The Scarlet Knights’ largest lead of the night came as Oliver maneuvered her way to the basket to give RU an 18-point, 36-18 edge with 4:51 remaining in the first half. The Scarlet Knights were up 40-27 at the half.
In the second half, the Jaguars crept to within single digits with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. An Oliver lay-up with 14:53 left in the game had RU leading Southern, 52-36, when the Jaguars produced a 9-2 run and cut the game down to a nine-point deficit.
Southern’s Kendra Coleman took off on a fast break with just over eight minutes remaining to bring her team within nine, but the Jaguars would not net another field goal the rest of the way and collected only two points from the line. Meanwhile, Rutgers would record the next seven points and end the game on a 7-2 run for the final margin.
Southern was led by Adrian Sanders with 12 points and five assists. Yasmin Fuller came off the Jaguar bench for 10 points.
Lee finished the game for Rutgers shooting 8-of-12 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the line.
Rutgers outrebounded Southern, 45-24, its largest margin of the season. Oliver and sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) led the Scarlet Knights with six boards each.
The Scarlet Knights’ homestand continues on Sunday with No. 21/23 Miami at 5:30 p.m.
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A LOOK AT THE STREAKS:
The win puts Rutgers on a three-game win streak. Their last set of three-consecutive wins was earlier this season with victories over George Washington, Temple, and Davidson.
The win over Southern also keeps RU undefeated at home for the season. The Scarlet Knights are currently 4-0 at home and the win extends the Rutgers win streak at the RAC to six dating back to last season.
COUNTDOWN TO 900:
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer improves to 891 in the win column needing just nine more to reach the 900-win milestone.
POURING IT ON IN THE PAINT:
At halftime, RU led 40-27 and held the points in the paint advantage at 22-4.
LEE LEADING LADY:
Senior Chelsey Lee led all scorers with 21 points, and topped her previous career high 18 coming against USF back on February 23, 2011. She notched a career-high in field goals made with eight, passing her previous career-high seven recorded on three previous occasions.
In just the first half of action, Lee’s 13 points topped her previous season high 11, which she notched twice so far in games against LA Tech and Georgia.
MORE CAREER NUMBERS:
On top of a five point contribution, Shakena Richardson had a career day notching five rebounds. Her five assists put her one shy of her career-high six.
ON THE BOARDS:
The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Jaguars by 21, their largest margin of the season. RU’s previous high this season was 13 (42-29) in games with #10/11 Georgia and LIU Brooklyn.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
Overall thoughts on the game:
“I’m disappointed, even though we won. The turnovers bother me the most, they really do. We cannot win anything with these kinds of turnovers. The interesting thing about it is this team (Southern) was not pressing. We were pressing, so we should not have turned it over as we did. We were lackadaisical with our passes, and it was disappointing in that respect. I was just talking with the seniors as we were coming in here, and one of them said that it was interesting how we play to the level of the competition. That’s what average teams do. Average teams always do that. Sometimes the real good ones do that, and that’s when they get surprised and knocked off, and that becomes the story of the week.”
On Chelsey Lee:
“It’s good to see her back. We’re really beginning to find out who we are and what we need to do, and we’re doing much better on all ends. I think she and Mo (Monique Oliver) are still off in terms of their timing, but that will only get better with practice and opportunities to practice together.”
On the team going into the game Sunday against Miami:
“I think we’re not consistent right now. I feel that if we just keep up the energy and play like we know how to play, and stop turning the ball over as much as we’ve been doing, that we’ll be fine. We can’t keep playing these games and having all these turnovers because it’s not going to get us anywhere. I feel like we need to just calm down and do what we do.”
On coming off the bench:
“I remember when Coach Stringer first told me I’d be coming off the bench for personal reasons, at first I was really upset, but she reminded me that Cappie Pondexter didn’t start at all her senior year; she came off the bench. Anything I can do, even if it’s just being a spark off the bench, I know that as soon as I come off the bench we go into the 55, and know to pick up the pace for my team. It doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.”
On having a career night with 21 points:
“I’m really just trying to let the game come to me, like I said before, I’ve been having a hard time trying to get back into the groove of playing like myself. I’m just trying to let the game come to me.”
On Sunday’s game against Miami:
“The competition level will be great. As far as matching up, I think we’ll match up with any team perfectly. On any given night, anyone can be a 21-point scorer. I mean, Mo’s scored in double figures and double doubles. Erica (Wheeler) has led us; Betnijah (Laney). We do know that we have people that can put up the numbers; I just think we need to bring it together. We can’t have nights where two people and on and three people are not on. We need to, like Mo (Monique Oliver) said, get consistent.”