PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 2, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team overcame an eight-point second half deficit and held Villanova without a field in overtime as the Scarlet Knights knocked off the Wildcats, 58-50, on Saturday afternoon at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights improve to 13-8 overall and move to .500 in BIG EAST play at 4-4. Additionally, Rutgers upped its home mark this season to 10-1 at the RAC. Villanova, a team that was looking to crack the Top 25, falls to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in league action.
With the Wildcats leading by eight, 42-34, with 9:11 left in the second half, Rutgers closed out regulation outscoring Villanova 12-4 to force the extra stanza, including a 5-0 run over the final 2:56.
A layup by Villanova’s Emily Leer gave the Wildcats a five-point cushion, 46-41, at the 3:18 mark of the second half, however it would be the final Wildcat field goal of the game.
A Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) jumper started the Knights’ 5-0 run to end regulation. Sophomore Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.), with her only points of the afternoon, drilled a jumper at the line to pull RU within one, 46-45, with 1:13 remaining. Coming out of a timeout, Villanova turned the ball over leading to Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) feeding sophomore Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) driving to the basket with eight seconds to go. Richardson was fouled and hit the second of two attempts at the line to tie the game at 46-46.
Megan Perason had a desperation shot at the buzzer, but it was off mark as Rutgers headed into its second BIG EAST overtime contest this season.
In overtime, Rutgers outscored Villanova 12-4 with all four Wildcat points coming from the free throw line. Sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) accounted for eight of her 12 points in the overtime session, including the first six points of the overtime session that gave RU a 52-46 edge with 2:42 left in the game..
Joining Laney in double figures was Richardson with a career-high 14 points. Richardson also notched a career-high seven assists and seven rebounds.
Laura Sweeney recorded a double-double in the loss with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rachel Roberts added in 10 points. .
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action on Sat., February 9 at 6 p.m. against Cincinnati. The game will air on SNY with Bob Picozzi and Steffi Sorensen on the call.
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CLOSING IN ON 900:
With the win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon, Scarlet Knight head coach C. Vivian Stringer collected her 898th victory needing just two more wins for her 900th victory.
The game marks the second overtime game of the year and puts RU at 1-1 in overtime games this season. Rutgers fell, 66-57, at Louisville in its other overtime game this season. RU holds a 21-15 all-time mark in OT.
IN THE SERIES:
Rutgers moves to 26-8 all-time against Villanova. The win marks the 11th in a row and the 13th win of the last 14 games.
Rutgers grabbed the game’s biggest lead during the overtime period when the Scarlet Knights went up by nine with 49 seconds remaining.
THE STARTING FIVE:
The starting lineup comprised of Erica Wheeler, Syessence Davis, Shakena Richardson, Betnijah Laney, and Chelsey Lee was the first time this group started on the court together. This is the 11th different line up on the season.
Shakena Richards captured a career-high 14 points surpassing her previous high of 11 in the victory over Georgetown on Jan. 22. Richardson notched seven rebounds, topping her previous season and career-high five from games against Southern and Tennessee.
Shakena Richardson led the team in scoring for the first ever time in her career. It was the third double figure contest for the sophomore of the season and her career.
Betnijah Laney, who collected eight of her 12 points in overtime, reached double figure scoring for the 10th this season and 14th time in her career. She has averaged 14.0 points in the last five games.
Villanova led the nation in the fewest turnovers committed averaging 11.1 per game. Against the Scarlet Knights, the Wildcats committed 16 miscues, tying for their season-high. Villanova also committed 16 turnovers against USF.
NO SECOND CHANCES:
The Rutgers defense held Villanova to zero second chance points in the game. The Scarlet Knights outrebounded the Wildcats, 35-23, with the shortest person on the court, Shakena Richardson, collected a team-high seven boards in the win.
Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer
On playing more guards than forwards:
“You noticed that [Villanova] was shooting at the three point range, and then the started isolating. The way that Villanova plays offense is different from any other team in the country. He can see where the weakness are when you’re playing man-to-man defense, and he right away isolated those and that’s when they started taking those drives.”
“I thought that if we went with all the little people we could more quickly move and be able to switch as we needed to, and also to be much more effective.”
“I’ve become much more comfortable with the decisions that [Shakena Richardson] is going to make, and it’s been showing up the last couple of weeks. It was good to see the kind of game she had against Marquette. It’s not about the scoring, it’s about the decisions, and seeing and recognizing who need to have it, and what’s the situation. If you noticed, we did lots of isolations, like post-up things. We were doing drives. Those were specifically called. Those can only happen when the people who are posted up, or the people taking drives can make the adjustments when things change.”
On the last plays:
“I was just really trying to focus on doing what we had to do to make sure we won; just executing the plays.”
On connecting with Richardson:
“That’s something we focus on in practice – everybody being able to play off of each other and with each other. That’s what we did.”
On being a versatile player:
“I am comfortable being versatile. It’s what we needed at the time because we had smaller guards in, so that means that me, being one of the biggest ones out there, I had to go to the inside and be able to execute from the inside.”
On the second half:
“We really wanted this win, and something from deep down pushed me through. I just turned it on I guess.
On running the point:
“From seeing the game at the 2-guard perspective, you gain a lot of perspective on the point guard. I’m more comfortable with the system and making plays.”
On being in “the zone” in overtime:
“You get into overtime, and that’s more of a will pushing through. It’s who wants it more. We got gritty and hungry and really stepped it up on the defensive side.”
“I knew if I attacked they would have to come up and help play, and that’s how the dishes were opening.”