PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 16, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak and picked up its first BIG EAST victory defeating Providence, 87-61, Wednesday night at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights shot a blistering 61.5 percent from the floor, capturing 54 points in the paint and 30 points off turnovers along with registering the most points in a conference game since 2007.
Rutgers improved to 10-7 overall and 1-3 in BIG EAST action. The Friars, meanwhile, are still looking to pick up their first conference win and fall to 5-11 overall and 0-3 in the BIG EAST.
Rutgers, who in the last five games had been averaging 17 first half points, exploded for a 47-29 lead. The Scarlet Knights shot a staggering 70.8% (17-of—24) from the floor in the opening stanza and led by as many as 20 points. RU did not miss on its first 10 lay-ups at the rim and garnered 30 points in the paint by the half. Senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.), who came off the bench in the victory, had 10 of her 16 points by the intermission going 4-of-4 from the field.
A Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) jumper in the paint gave Rutgers a 19-4 advantage to open the game and with 4:17 left in the first half, she gave the Scarlet Knights a 20-point edge, 39-19. Copper ended the game with a career-high 14 points shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line.
The Friars would get no closer than 14 the rest of the game.
Rutgers led by as many as 28 midway through the second half and outscored Providence, 40-32. Sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) went 7-of-8 from the field in the second stanza, pouring in 15 of her career high 24 points.
Sophomore Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) narrowly missed a double-double dishing the ball out a career-high 10 times to go along with eight points and four steals.
Providence had three Friars in double figures led by Symone Roberts with 19 points along with seven assists and four steals. Tori Rule added in 17 points and Danielle Pearson posted 10 in the loss.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to the court on Tuesday, Jan. 22 against Georgetown. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. in front of the CBS Sports Network cameras with Brent Stover and Deb Antonelli on the call.
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COUNTDOWN TO 900:
The victory over Providence brings head coach C. Vivian Stringer to 985 career victories. Stringer is currently first among active coaches in career wins, and with five more wins she will hit the 900-win mark.
Kahleah Copper made her third career start on the night. She currently leads all freshmen in scoring, rebounds, and minutes. The starting lineup consisting of Betnijah Laney, Chelsey Lee, Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, and Copper featured the ninth combination of starting players this season.
AT THE HALF:
Rutgers went into the half with 45 points surpassing their previous first-half high of 40 in the win over Southern on Dec. 12. Additionally, Rutgers 70% field goal percentage from the first half was the highest shooting percentage in any half this season. The previous high was 63% (17-of-27) in the first half against Louisiana Tech back on Dec. 9 at the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Syessence Davis’s 10 assists sets a career and season high for the sophomore. This marks the most assists by a Scarlet Knight since Khadijah Rushdan notched 10 against Pitt Feb. 8, 2011.
The Scarlet Knights hit the 80-point mark in BIG EAST play since a double overtime loss against Louisville in the BIG EAST Tournament back on March 9, 2009 with an 87-82 setback. The 87 points against the Friars are also the most by RU since defeating Cincinnati 85-43 on Feb. 3, 2007.
BRITTANY FOR THREE:
One of the biggest cheers of the night came as walk-on Brittany Lapidus (Marlboro, N.J.) hit her first career three pointer late in the game.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On the win:
“We were trying to be a little bit more patient. I think we’ve been rushing and missing some options. I thought that when we slowed it down it gave us a little more of a chance to see that we were able to do that. We did a couple things. We also switched up some positions. Kahleah Copper was playing the 4. She was just running the floor, and at times we played two posts, and other times we played one post. We were trying to recognize the inside because it’s been anemic with Chelsey [Lee] as well as Monique [Oliver] not getting anywhere near the touches that they normally get. I think that everyone made much more of a conscious effort. The guards made much more of a conscious effort to drive, which got us to the free throw line more than we have been able to get, maybe, all year. It was a lot better balance; it felt better, it looked better.”
On the stats:
“I’ve never seen 87 points. That would have been nice to get 90 just once. I was shocked we got 87. It was really nice to see those kind of points. It was great. It’s about where they came from, because 22 of those points came from the free throw line, so that helps… that helps a lot. Others came from breaks and stealing the ball, so that was good. I know the team felt good about it and we’ll look to experience that same feeling again.”
On the importance of winning the game:
“I feel like this is a great pick-me-up for us. It’s given us much more confidence, and we’re ready to go into these next few games, like Georgetown, with a lot more confidence. We’re ready to execute our plays and we’re just ready to win.
On the offense coming together:
“[The offense] flowed a lot better with me and Chelsey (Lee) being able to touch the ball and finish our shots, and giving the guards opportunities to make their shots too.
On her 24-point performance:
“It’s not like I have in my head that I’m trying to go out and get 20 points. I just go out to improve each game.
On Syessence Davis’s 10-assist performance:
“She played really well. She pushed the ball, she kicked it up, and she saw the open man and found everybody, giving everybody opportunities to score.”
On the past few games:
“It’s been really frustrating, especially when we’re so close because we’ve been right there but unable to execute in the last couple of minutes.”