BROOKLYN, N.Y. (November 29, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team opened up the Barclays Women’s Basketball Invitational Friday afternoon falling just short of a Top 25 win with a 69-65 loss to No. 15/17 LSU.
RU rallied from as many as 10 down with 1:38 left to pull within three in the closing moments.
Rutgers fell to 4-2 overall following their first appearance against a Top 25 squad this season. LSU, playing without DaShawn Harden and Danielle Ballard, who were suspended for a game after being ejected for fighting in a game against Louisiana Tech last week, improved to 5-1 overall.
With LSU flirting with a double-double lead with 12 minutes left in the game, Rutgers made its first rally of the second half. The Scarlet Knights trailed, 35-44, but proceeded to use a 12-4 run to cut its deficit down to one. Sophomore Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored eight of RU’s 12 points during the run as the Scarlet Knights were behind only 48-47 with 7:19 on the clock.
RU trailed, 50-49, after freshman Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) fed Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) for a fast break layup, but LSU turned the tides going on a run of its own. An 11-3 run by the Tigers gave LSU its first double digit lead of the game, 62-52 with 2:20 remaining.
After a pair of free throws by the Tigers’ Raigyne Moncrief had LSU leading, 64-54, with just over 1:30 left, Rutgers made another run. Rutgers outscored LSU, 9-4, in the span of 1:15 to pull within three. Moncrief sunk another two attempts from the line to put her team ahead, 68-61, but on the ensuing possession, Copper collected her own rebound off a missed layup to put the ball up and in, cutting down the RU deficit to five, 68-63, with 34 seconds remaining.
Copper gave possession right back to the Scarlet Knights on a steal, resulting in junior Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) going to the line. Davis sunk both free throws as RU trailed just 68-65 with 24 seconds left.
The Scarlet Knights quickly stopped the clock with a foul, sending Moncrief to the line once more. Moncrief headed to the line having gone 14-of-16 from the stripe, but missed both attempts. Off the second miss, the ball went out-of-bounds on the baseline with Rutgers having a shot at tying the game with 23 seconds left in the game.
Canty took a three-pointer at the top of the arc, but if fell short of the basket.
LSU’s Moncrief hit one-of-two from the line for the game’s final 69-65 margin.
RU had three in double figures led by Copper’s 16 points. Canty finished the game with 13 points while junior Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) returned to the starting line-up for 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
LSU was led by Moncrief’ 27 points, including 15 points from the free throw line. Theresa Plaisance added in 16 and Shanece McKinney poured in 10 from off the bench in the win.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to the Barclays Center to face Texas Tech at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. The Lady Raiders fell, 82-71, to Michigan in other Barclay’s Women’s Basketball Invitational action on Friday.
- Rutgers fell to 5-2 in the all-time series with LSU. Rutgers had won the last three straight meetings prior to Friday’s loss.
- Junior forward Betnijah Laney returned to the starting line-up after missing the last two games with a right ankle sprain. Laney had 11 points in her return marking the third time this season and 22nd time in her career she has reached double figures.
- Sophomore Kahleah Copper led RU in scoring for the fourth time this season and sixth in her career with her team-high 16 points. Fourteen of her 16 points came in the second half.
- Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty also had a double-figure scoring effort with a career-high 13 points, the fourth time this season and fifth time in her career she has notched double figures. She tied her career-high with six made field goals and 12 field goal attempts.
- RU shot 14-of-19 from the free throw line to shoot 73.7 percent for the game. It was the Scarlet Knights’ best effort from the charity stripe this season and best shooting percentage from the free throw line since shooting 76.2 percent against Cincinnati on Feb. 9, 2013. Tyler Scaife went a perfect 4-of-4 from the line while Syessence Davis was a perfect 3-of-3. Betnijah Laney shot 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
- Rutgers has had three or more players in double figures in three of its six games to date.
- The Scarlet Knights committed a season-high 29 turnovers. Last time RU had over 25 miscues in a game was against national runner-up Louisville on Jan. 8, 2013 in 66-57 overtime loss. It was the most turnovers by a Rutgers squad since committing 29 against Georgia on Nov. 22, 2009 in a 49-48 loss.
- Freshman Rachel Hollivay recorded three blocks and has averaged 5.3 blocks in the last three games. She has posted three or more rejections three times this season and six times in her career.
- Junior Syessence Davis notched four steals against LSU, a new season-high. It was one steal off her career mark.
- Sophomore Precious Person hauled in a career-high five rebounds in Friday’s loss. Her previous high was three boards against Stony Brook on Dec. 21, 2012.
- RU falls to 0-1 against the Top 25 this season.
- LSU’s 12 assists were the fewest by the Tigers this season. They entered Friday’s contest dishing the ball out 16.6 times per game but registered just 12 assists against the Scarlet Knights.
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