PISCATAWAY (December 30, 2012) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team’s five-game win streak came to a halt on Sunday in a 66-47 loss at the hands of #13/15 Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The loss dropped the Scarlet Knights to 8-4 overall heading into their final non-conference contest. The loss also dropped RU to 1-2 against the Top 25. Tennessee meanwhile heads into SEC competition with a 9-3 overall record.
Rutgers got the bulk of its scoring from off the bench led by freshman Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) with a career-high 13 points. Senior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) also added in 11 points as the other Scarlet Knight in double figures.
The Lady Vols had a trio in double figures with Isabelle Harrison registering a game-high 18 points along with 11 rebounds. Meighan Simmons contributed 15 points, while Bashaara Graves had a double-double with 11 points and 14 boards.
Tennessee took a 18-4 run to start the game, not allowing the Scarlet Knights points until the 14:19 mark of the first half.
The Lady Vols led 33-13 at the half with 11 of RU’s 13 points coming from the bench. Tennessee capitalized on its inside game and off Scarlet Knight turnovers capturing 14 first half paint points and 15 points off RU miscues.
While Rutgers matched up better in the second half with the Scarlet Knights outscoring the Lady Vols, 34-33 in the second stanza, Tennessee led by double figures the entire half.
Tennessee limited the Scarlet Knights to just 34.6 percent from the floor in the game including 22.2 percent in the first half.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team closes out non-conference competition on Wednesday Jan. 2 against La Salle. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the RAC.
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LEGENDS IN THE HOUSE:
RU head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who has 893 career victories and needs seven more to reach the 900 victory milestone, met up with Pat Summitt, women’s basketball all-time leader in victories (1,098) before Sunday’s match-up.
WIN STREAK STOPPED:
Rutgers five-game win streak came to an end in Knoxville on Sunday. However, the Scarlet Knights have another win streak to extend when they return to action on Wednesday at home against La Salle. RU is 6-0 at home this season and has won its last straight eight games at the RAC dating back to last season.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer used the starting line-up of Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, Monique Oliver, Betnijah Laney, and Chelsey Lee for the third straight game.
AT THE HALF:
Rutgers 13 first half points were the fewest scored by the Scarlet Knights this season. The previous low was 16 as they led then-#21/23 Miami, 16-15, on Dec. 16.
The 47 points scored in Sunday’s loss were the second lowest point total by the Scarlet Knights in the Rutgers-Tennessee series. The lowest total was 46 when RU fell, 59-46, in the national championship game in Cleveland, Ohio on April 3, 2007.
FROM OFF THE BENCH:
Rookie Kahleah Copper reset her season mark with 14 points. Her previous high was 10 back in RU’s home opener against George Washington on Nov. 14.
Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
“I was talking to Pat (Summitt) a little earlier, and I was telling her she must be extremely proud of Holly (Warlick). I think that this Tennessee team is playing in my opinion closer to the outstanding, extremely aggressive but very good intense Tennessee teams that have always played. I haven’t really thought that always in the years past, and I’ve talked to her about that. I thought that they played in her image, and I know that she’s extremely proud of Holly. The assistant staff, they really have them playing real well. They’re aggressive. I know they have to be pleased. On the other side of it, I wish we had been able to start quicker, better. I apologize to everybody for your time that was wasted coming to see this, and hopefully we’ll grow from this.”
On this Tennessee team compared to others she’s seen in the past
“I think that this team, their energy, their fight. They’re real intense. They started the trap, and they just pursued that trap. … It’s not too much the skill necessarily. It’s not just the skill; it’s the mindset, the mindsets of the players. I just think that this group just reminds me of championship years.”
On the better second half by Rutgers, what the mindset was after halftime
“To step it up on the defensive end and try to cut the lead in as much as we could.”
On the crowd’s volume, energy after the fast start by Tennessee, how you recover from that
“That’s expected when you’re coming into somebody else’s home to know that everyone in the crowd will be cheering against you.”