PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 22, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team made it two-in-a-row with a 55-47 victory over Georgetown on Tuesday night at the RAC. The Scarlet Knights held the nation’s leading scorer, Sugar Rodgers, to 11 points below her average.
The Scarlet Knights, who were led by freshman Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 12 points and sophomore Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) with 11, improved to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the BIG EAST. Georgetown fell to 11-8 overall and 2-4 in league play.
Georgetown’s Rodgers, who entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 24.6 points per game, was held to a season-low 13 points shooting 3-of-20 from the field. It was only the fourth time this season Rogers has scored under 20 points.
With the Hoyas leading 13-11 with five minutes remaining in the first half, Rutgers closed out the half on a 13-3 run holding Georgetown to only one field goal during the span. Richardson accounted for six points during the run which saw the Scarlet Knights go into the locker room with a 24-16 edge.
Rutgers extended its lead to as many as 12 in the early moments of the second half, however Georgetown would pull within two with 11 minutes remaining in the game. The Hoyas scored eight unanswered points as Rutgers held to a 33-31 advantage. Senior Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) knocked down a pair of free throws and sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) with the traditional three-point play gave Rutgers a five-point cushion following.
A pair of Rodger free throws pulled the Hoyas back within three, 38-35, with 7:16 left, but that would be the closest Georgetown would get the rest of the way.
Down the stretch, Rutgers, who went to the free throw line a season-high 37 times, hit seven of its 10 shots from the charity stripe. Ahead by four, 48-44, with 1:56 left to play, Richardson knocked down all four of her attempts from the line to keep the game out of reach from the Hoyas.
The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Hoyas, 45-34. Senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) came off the bench to lead RU with eight rebounds.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to the court on Sun. Jan. 27 at Seton Hall. Game time is 2:00 p.m.
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CLOSING IN ON 900:
The win brings head coach C. Vivian Stringer to 896 career wins. She is now just four wins away from the 900-win mark.
The starting lineup featured Betnijah Laney, Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, Chelsey Lee and Kahleah Copper for the second game in a row. That combination of Scarlet Knights currently sits 2-0.
Kahleah Copper made her second straight start of the season. She has earned a place on the starting squad in four games this season, more than any other freshman. Copper led all RU scorers with 12 points in the win. This is the second game as the team point leader this season for Copper, and her fourth game in double-figure scoring. Last time she led the team in points was in the 47-66 loss to then-No. 13/15 Tennessee.
ON THE BOARDS:
Betnijah Laney grabbed seven boards in the win, matching her current season high. She also hauled in seven rebounds on three other occasions this season, most recently in the win over LaSalle on Jan. 2, 2013.
GETTING TO THE LINE:
The Scarlet Knights got to the line a season-high 37 times on Tuesday night against the Hoyas. RU ended the game knocking down 23 shots from the line led by Shakena Richardson’s 4-of-4 performance.
HOLDING A HOYA:
The nation’s leading scorer in Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers was held to a season-low 13 points on 3-of-20 shooting from the floor. Her previous low was 14 points in a loss to Notre Dame. Additionally her three field goals were the fewest of the season. Her previous low was five in contests with LSU, George Washington, and Syracuse. Her 15% shooting percentage was also a season-low. Rodgers’ previous low came against Syracuse where she shot just 23.8% from the floor on 5-of-21 shooting. All three of her field goals Tuesday against the Scarlet Knights came from three-point range.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On defending Sugar Rodgers:
“Because Georgetown is an outstanding defensive team, it came down to who was the better defensive team. It was a matter of throwing on our ‘55’ and seeing if they were going to do their full court press. I thought that Syessence [Davis] did a great job wherever she was. She got different looks because they were switching off. At some point Shakena [Richardson] was on her, and then she would see Syessence and her size, and then she’d go to 6-1 Kahleah Copper. So she (Sugar Rodgers) kept seeing different bodies, and different sizes that were coming at her. She was the only player that, anytime she attempted to get a screen, we were showing high. It probably looked to her like we were trapping. When you’re a great player and it’s your business to shoot, you do whatever you can to do that. It wasn’t that the other players didn’t, because I think they stepped up for her. It’s an outstanding team, so I want to compliment Georgetown and their coach and their great effort.”
On Kahleah Copper:
“She’s an incredible athlete. She is an incredible athlete; she’s very gifted. We just changed her position about two weeks ago, which she can’t thank me enough for. I’m happy about the change as well.”
“We saw things in practice, where she would run the 4 so well, and the team seemed to be very confident. She does a great job of finishing. If you get her that shot, anything along the baseline, she can do that. She seemed so much more comfortable that we thought we’d open our game up, by allowing these guards to dribble penetrate more, and get them the open shots and looks. Even though she’s thin she gets up and rebounds.”
On her ankle injury in the first half:
“I was going up for a rebound and I came down on her foot, and then I guess I rolled it. When I went down, I knew I was coming back. I wasn’t going to stay out, whether it was hurting or not. I was going to play as long as coach let me.”
On defending Sugar Rodgers:
“That was our main goal. I think we did a great job on that, and recovering out on her when she was open, or taking the switch when it was needed. I thought we did a great job as a whole, as a team. Coach expressed to us in practice that that if we need to take the switch we will.”
“I thought we did a great job going by the scout report we had all week.”
On stepping up when Erica Wheeler left the game:
“We had to pick up the intensity. I thought to attack and do anything I could do to pick up the slack during those few minutes that she was out.
On defending Sugar Rodgers:
“It was all about containing her and making her take difficult shots. I think as a team we all did a good job of that.”
On when Erica is out of the game:
“Everybody else has to step up and pick up the slack. We know she’s a fighter, so we fight for her. That’s our senior. We knew we had to go out there and do what we have to do until she got back. We knew she was coming back.”