CINCINNATI, Ohio (March 2, 2013) – Despite overcoming a 10-point deficit to tie the game at 48-48 with just two minutes remaining, the Rutgers women’s basketball team fell, 56-48, to Cincinnati at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday evening.
The loss drops the Scarlet Knights to 15-13 overall and 6-9 in the BIG EAST. RU currently sits in ninth place in the BIG EAST standings heading into the final game of the regular season. Playing in its final regular season road game of the 2012-13 season, Rutgers dropped to 2-11 in away contests. Cincinnati, who won its first game ever against Rutgers, improved to 12-16 overall and 4-11 in league play.
Rutgers was led by Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) with 15 points, while Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and five steals in the loss.
The Bearcats had a trio in double figures led by Dayeesha Hollins with a game-high 17 points. Lesha Dunn added 14, while Tiffany Turner contributed 11 points in the win.
The Scarlet Knights, who outrebounded the Bearcats, by 24 in the first meeting, were outrebounded, 34-31.
Trailing by 10 with eight minutes remaining in the game, Rutgers proceeded to go on a 10-2 to pull within two.Laney broke through the Bearcat defense for back-to-back lay-ups as her Scarlet Knights were down, 46-44, with 3:08 to go.
After a pair of free throws by Cincinnati’s Lesha Dunn gave the Bearcats a four-point cushion following, Laneywas fouled going to the hole on the opposite end of the court.While Laney missed the free throw, senior Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.) hauled down the rebound. Sophomore Shakena Richardson (Neptune, N.J.) was fouled and put RU back at the free throw line where she sunk both shots from the charity stripe to tie the game at 48-48 with 2:12 left.
Richardson’s free throws unfortunately would be the final points the Scarlet Knights would register.Cincinnati captured the next eight points from the line as they went 8-of-14 from the stripe for the game’s final margin.
Rutgers led just once in the game. A 15-foot jumper from Laney gave Rutgers its only lead of the game, 14-13 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the opening half, Cincinnati responded by scoring six-straight unanswered points to start a 14-5 run. Hollins, who netted 11 of her 17 points in first half action, capped the Bearcat run by sinking two shots from the free throw line to give her squad a 27-19 edge with 1:18 left until the intermission.
The Scarlet Knights trailed 27-21 at the intermission, but opened up second half play on a 5-0 run to pull within one, 29-28 with 16:31 on the clock. The Bearcats punched back with eight unanswered points and went up by as many as 10 three times before the Scarlet Knights made their comeback.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action on Monday, March 4th hosting Pittsburgh in its final regular season game of the 2012-13 campaign. RU will honor its seniors – managers Ryan Pinnock, Monqiue Wagner, Vaunique Brown, and Matthew Schiff - and four Scarlet Knights – Brittany Lapidus (Marlboro, N.J.), Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.), Monique Oliver (Las Vegas, Nev.), and Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) – prior to the 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
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RU had won the previous nine contests against the Bearcats before falling to Cincinnati on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are now 9-1 in the all-time series.
ON THE ROAD:
The Scarlet Knights wrapped up its regular season road schedule with the loss to drop to 2-11 in road games. RU’s two victories came against Marquette and Temple.
After committing 16 first half turnovers, the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over only six times in the second half. Three of the six second half turnovers occurred in the game’s final three minutes.
ON THE LIST:
With her 10 three-point attempts against Cincinnati, senior Erica Wheeler has now totaled 165 shots from behind the arc. She moves into sixth all-time in the single season record book in three-point attempts surging past Tomara Young (98-99), Kristin Somogyi (96-97), and Liz Hanson (94-95) on the list on Saturday. She needs seven more three-point attempts to move into fifth all-time past former teammate Brittany Ray (09-10).
Sophomore Syessence Davis tied her season and career-high with five steals against Cincinnati. Classmate Betnijah Laney set a new season and career mark in assists (4).