PISCATAWAY, N.J. (November 17, 2013) – A game-winning layup by junior Christa Evans (Jackson, N.J.) with less than one second remaining in regulation gave Rutgers a 59-57 win over LaSalle in nonconference action Sunday afternoon at the RAC. With the clock winding down, classmate Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) found Evans under the basket to connect for the game-winner.
The basket was Evans’ only field goal in the game.
Three players finished in double-figures to pace the Scarlet Knights, led by sophomore Kahleah Copper’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) team-high 12 points. Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) and freshman Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) each contributed 11 points, while junior Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.
Rutgers entered the second half with a two-point lead over the Explorers and maintained the advantage until the visitors knotted the score at 32 on a three-ball from Alicia Cooper with 15:18 left. A jumper by redshirt junior Alexis Burke (Bainbridge, Ga.) 18 seconds later put RU ahead, but LaSalle managed to tie the game up two more times before taking a lead.
The visitors went on to take just their second lead of the contest at 12:54, 40-39, before RU’s Burke drilled two free throws and a Copper fast break gave the Scarlet Knights a four-point cushion.
The Scarlet Knights fended off multiple Explorer runs and preserved their lead until a 9-2 LaSalle run capped by a three-pointer from the right wing by Khristin Lee put the visitors in front 57-56 with just a minute left to play.
Following a Rutgers timeout with 45 seconds remaining, sophomore Precious Person (Jonesboro, Ark.) would drive the lane and draw a foul to head to the line to hit one of two. After Person hit the first attempt to tie the score at 57-57, she missed her second attempt, but a scramble for the ball resulting in a jump ball and possession going to the Scarlet Knights.
Davis went on to execute the game-winning play. Holding the ball at the top the arc until 10 seconds remained, Davis drove the lane. Drawing in defense, she found Evans wide open underneath the basket passing her teammate the ball mid-air with .5 seconds left in the game.
After shooting just 34.8 percent in the first half, Rutgers came out strong in the second stanza and converted 11-of-21 attempts to finish the frame with a 52.4 percentage. For the game, RU shot 43.2 percent.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at UMass.
- RU moves to 6-1 in the all-time series against La Salle and has won the last six straight. It was the second straight year the game came down to the wire with the Scarlet Knights earning a 54-50 victory last season at the RAC.
- Rutgers improved to 3-0 for first time since the 2011-12. In 2011-12, RU opened with eight straight victories. It is the sixth 3-0 start for head coach C. Vivian Stringer in her 19 years at Rutgers and 17th overall for the program.
- The last two straight contests with LaSalle have produced low scoring first halves. Last season RU had a 13-11 lead at intermission, while this season, the Scarlet Knights held a 22-21 edge at the half.
- Betnijah Laney had 11 of her game-high 12 rebounds at the half. It’s Laney’s third straight game in double figure rebounding. She was one rebound off her career-mark before going down with an ankle sprain in the second half. Laney is currently averaging 11.7 rebounds per game.
- Betnijah Laney started the season off with two-straight double-doubles but managed only three points on Sunday, due in part to missing much of the second half with an ankle sprain. She would have become the first Scarlet Knight since Chelsey Lee in 2011 to record back-to-back-to-back double-doubles.
- Kahleah Copper added in her third straight double-figure scoring effort before fouling out of the game with 12 points. To-date, Copper is averaging 18.0 points per game.
- Briyona Canty also had her third straight double-figure scoring game before fouling out as well. Since returning from knee surgery, Canty is averaging.11.0 points per game.
- Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in the first three games of the 2013-14 season.
- Syessence Davis dished out a game-high five assists marking the second time this season she has registered five or more assists in a contest and the 12th time in her career.
- RU improved to 2-0 at the RAC this season and is 137-21 since the 2002-03 season on their home court.
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