PISCATAWAY (December 16, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team made it four-in-a-row by knocking off No. 21/23 Miami, 42-34, Sunday evening at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights improved to 7-3 overall and improve their home win streak to seven. The Hurricanes fell to 7-2 overall as Rutgers snapped Miami’s five-game win streak. The Hurricanes only other loss this season was at the hands of then-#20 Tennessee.
It was a low scoring first half with Rutgers leading 16-15 at the half at the intermission. Both squads combined for only 10 field goals in the game’s first 20 minutes. Miami, who entered Sunday’s contest averaging a 42.1 percent clip from the floor, was held to only one field goal in the game’s opening 13 minutes and ended the half connecting on only 4-of-22 (14 percent) from the field.
Rutgers meanwhile shot just 6-of-22 (27 percent) but managed to lead by as many a seven, 16-9, with 2:32 left in the half until the Hurricanes pulled to within one, ending the half with six unanswered points.
The Scarlet Knights opened the second half on fire going on a 6-0 run in the first two minutes prompting a Hurricane timeout. Rutgers took its first double figure lead of the game on back-to-back buckets by leading scorer Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.). Oliver converted the and one and followed with a lay-up in traffic under the basket after Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) ripped away the ball on the Miami side of the court. Oliver’s quick five points gave her RU squad a 35-24 edge with 5:24 remaining and the Hurricanes would get no closer than eight the rest of the night.
Oliver went on to lead all scorers with 13 points along with two blocks and three steals. She was the lone Scarlet Knight in double figures.
Senior Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.), coming off her season-high 21 points against Southern on Wednesday, hauled in a season-high 11 rebounds. Copper was also big on the boards with a season and career-high seven grabs.
Miami was led by Shawnice Wilson who captured a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team closes out its three-game homestand on Friday against Stony Brook in the Holiday Doubleheader with the men’s team. Game time against the Seawolves is 5:00 p.m. followed by the Rutgers men’s basketball team taking on Howard.
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AFTER THE WIN:
Sunday’s game marked the second ranked opponent for Rutgers so far this season. RU is 1-1 against Top 25 teams this year after falling in the season opener to Georgia. Sunday was also the 21st time the Scarlet Knights and the Hurricanes have met on the hardwood. The win puts RU at 13-8 all-time with the Miami squad.
HOME SWEET HOME:
The win extends RU’s undefeated stand at the RAC with a perfect 5-0 on the year. The Scarlet Knights have won seven straight at home dating back to last season.
COUNTDOWN TO 900:
The win puts head coach C. Vivian Stringer at 892 wins, just eight shy of the 900-win milestone.
The 16 first-half points are the fewest first-half points scored this season. The one point lead is also the smallest halftime lead held all year. Rutgers held the Hurricanes to shooting at just 19%. This marks the lowest opponent shooting percentage since last year’s win over Iona, when RU held the Gaels to 16%.
GRABBING THE BOARDS:
Chelsey Lee notched 11 rebounds in the win, topping her previous season high six rebounds. Freshman Kahleeah Copper grabbed seven rebounds on the night, a new career and season high.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On the half court defense:
“The 55 is more exciting because you can almost see everything developing. Without question, we knew what we had to do, so it was really great to see us stay focused. They’re a very good defensive team as well. Of course, we won ugly, but it was one really, really, really, hard fought game. Every point did count, and as you noticed, we played a lot of freshmen who played key roles. In addition to Chelsey (Lee) picking up 11 rebounds, Kahleah Copper, who is a freshman, got seven real quick. We can be a much better team, and we know that. Maybe to have won this game, it will be what we need to show us what we need to do to get it done.”
On having a slower first half and a productive second half:
“That was my fault…I need to calm down. It was just simple mistakes. Coming into the second half, I had the mindset that we want to win, and to keep up the energy, and just do what I do.
On the size of the Miami players:
“I know I’m a small post, so I’ve been getting used to other post players being bigger than me.”
On the half court defense:
“For the past week or so we’ve been working on 5-on-5 recovery, or 4-on-5 recovery, so we really have been focusing on our transition defense. We know that last time we played them, they scored a lot of points in transition. We made sure we focused on getting back on defense. We’re known for being a defensive team, I just think that we really showed today that the new Scarlet Knights do play defense.
On staying patient on offense:
“It’s no secret that we’re an inside team. At the beginning of the game, I think we’re used to going inside. We normally have that advantage, but today we played a team that has that advantage as well. Their inside is pretty strong as well. We knew that it would be a guard dominated game.
On getting the ball inside more:
“In the first half I noticed they were getting a lot of deflections, so I took my time and made sure they were completely open, and no one was sagging behind them or inside of them. That was a big eye opener for myself; noticing where the defense was.
On shooting well today:
“Just reading the defense and going to the open spots was the big key today.”
Miami Head Coach Katie Meier
“Even if you’re into defense, that’s just an ugly basketball game. Both teams were known for our defense and so I didn’t think it was going to be in the 90s by any stretch of the imagination, but I sure didn’t expect this. The thing that’s probably such a compliment to (Rutgers), though, is that’s what they do and they were able to do it to us. We’re sitting there going, “What’s going on?” and Rutgers is going, “Yeah, this is us. This is what we do.” So, huge compliment to them. Our first two shots were so bad that they hit the 30-second clock at the top on two layups by two seniors. That’s something that Rutgers does to you. I’m not going to sit here, I would never do it, but I’m certainly not going to do it tonight, and say if we had just hit our shots we could have won that game. That is not giving enough credit to your opposition. I give them all of the credit for doing that to us, for getting us from jump, questioning, on our heels, taking the extra dribble when we should not have and losing our composure. That is what they’re known for and this was a very, very good lesson for us. I’m very glad that my team got this lesson in December instead of March.”