PISCATAWAY, N.J. (December 21, 2013) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team not only got its first win of the year over a Top 25 opponent, but handed No. 16/15 Georgia its first loss of the 2013-14 season in a 61-58 victory at the RAC on Saturday afternoon.
The game closed out the Scarlet Knights’ nonconference slate, as they head into their first and only season of American Athletic Conference play at 9-2 overall. It was RU’s fifth straight victory. Georgia meanwhile fell to 11-1 overall.
Junior Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) and sophomore Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) both netted 18 points in the victory. Laney hauled in 10 boards for her sixth double-double of the year and fourth straight. Meanwhile Copper recorded double digits for the 11th consecutive game, reaching double figures in every nonconference games played. Freshman Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) also added 10 points in the victory.
Georgia was led by Shacobia Barbee with 18 points.
The Lady Bulldogs had its first of two leads of the game with 12:57 left in the second half as Krista Donald sank two shots from the line for a 38-37 lead. Rutgers responded with Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) scoring her lone points of the game on a jumper to return the lead to the Scarlet Knights for good.
The game was tied four more times over the final 10 minutes and RU extended its lead by as many as seven in the final moments. However, Georgia sunk two 3-pointers down the stretch to keep the game close.
As the clock wound down, Laney dished the ball to Copper on the wing with 1:04 left and after a defensive stop. On the following Georgia possession, Copper weaved her way through traffic to put RU up by seven, 59-52, with 37 seconds remaining. The game, however, was far from over.
The Lady Bulldog’s Barbee hit a deep three with 21 seconds left and after junior Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) missed the front end of a one-and-one, Barbee responded with another three as Rutgers clung to a 59-58 advantage with only seven seconds remaining.
Scaife was immediately fouled on the inbounds pass and connected on two free throws at the line for the game’s final 61-58 margin.
RU opened the game by scoring nine unanswered points and eventually built an 11-2 with 12:58 left in the first half. The Scarlet Knight defense helped to force seven Lady Bulldog turnovers in the first four minutes, as Georgia would finish the game with 23 total.
Georgia had pulled within one, 25-24, with 3:31 left until the half off a Barbee free throw and tied the game at 27-27 off a Khaalidha Miller shot from downtown with 1:59 on the clock, but the Scarlet Knights never relinquished their first half lead.
Rutgers, which improved to 6-0 at home this season, held a 31-27 halftime edge.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action after the Christmas holiday, beginning American Athletic Conference action in the Sunshine State. RU will travel to USF for a meeting with the Bulls on Saturday, Dec. 28 in the first of seven appearances on the American Digital Network.
- Rutgers improved to 9-2 overall and 6-0 at the RAC in 2013-14.
- The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the third time this season. That starting five is 3-0.
- With the victory, the Scarlet Knights improved to 6-0 at home this season. Rutgers is 141-21 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season.
- The win gave RU a 6-0 home record to start the season for the second straight year.
- Rutgers goes to 1-1 on the season against the top 25. It was RU’s first win over a nationally ranked opponent since down #21/22 Miami last December.
- Rutgers has had three or more players in double figures in 10 of its 11 games to date. Betnijah Laney had 12 of her 18 points in the first half.
- Kahleah Copper scored in double figures for the 11th consecutive contest going 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-5 from the line for 18 points. She tied Epiphanny Prince’s mark of 11-straight double-digit scoring efforts to start the 2006-07 season.
- Copper made her first attempt from the field for the 10th time in 11 games this season. She leads RU with a 60 percent shooting clip.
- Betnijah Laney collected her sixth double-double of the season and fourth straight with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The double-double streak is the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years, while her total is half of Kia Vaughn’s 12 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season. That double-double mark is the most in the last 10 seasons.
- Freshman Tyler Scaife scored in double figures for the fifth straight game and eighth time overall this season.
- Scaife set a new career-high with six rebounds against the Lady Bulldogs.
- Junior Christa Evans recorded two blocks for the second time this season. It was her first rejection since Dec. 12 vs. Wagner.
- On the season, Rutgers is averaging 35.6 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more points in the paint nine times this season and in each of its last seven games.
- Sophomore Rachel Hollivay had two blocks against the Lady Bulldogs, her ninth multi-block game of the season. Hollivay is averaging 3.3 on the season.
- Junior Syessence Davis had three steals on Saturday, marking the seventh straight game with three or more steals. She is averaging 3.1 steals per game in that span.
- Georgia committed 14 turnovers in the first half and 23 in the contest. It tied for the most turnovers by an RU opponent in any half this season and tied for the most turnovers by an opponent this season. It was the ninth game that the Scarlet Knights forced at least 20 turnovers.
- Rutgers finished the game 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) from the free throw line. It was the fourth time this season the Scarlet Knights shot at least 70 percent from the charity stripe.
- Laney tied her career high from the line, going 4-of-4 for the third time since arriving “On the Banks.”
- The Scarlet Knights went 0-for-1 from 3-point range. It was the fewest 3-point attempts by RU since recording none on Jan. 18, 2003 against Notre Dame and only the third time this season the team was blanked from beyond the arc.
- Rutgers held the Lady Bulldogs scoreless for the first six minutes of the contest, taking the time to build a 9-0 lead
- RU has committed fewer than 20 turnovers in eight of its 11 games to date.
- The Scarlet Knights beat Georgia on the glass, 34-33. It was the seventh time RU won on the glass, while the 33 allowed rebounds was the second fewest this season.
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