PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 11, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team’s win streak continued to nine in-a-row and eight straight at home, as the Scarlet Knights defeated SMU, 64-54, on Saturday at the RAC in the first ever meeting between the two squads.
In its closest game in American Athletic Conference play to date, the Scarlet Knights improved to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in league action. SMU fell to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference.
The game was tied at 13-13 in early action before freshman Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) tore down the court to put the Scarlet Knights ahead for the remainder of the first half. Scaife would go on to register 12 of her team-high 16 points in the opening half.
Rutgers led by as many as four late in the first half and held only a two-point lead heading into the locker room at the half. The Scarlet Knights owned a 29-27 edge, as SMU leading scorer Keena Mays connected on a jumper from the free throw line at the horn.
The Mustangs’ Raven Short tied the game up at 29-29 moments into the second half, but Rutgers proceeded to take a 7-0 run for a 36-31 edge with 15:10 remaining. Over the next two minutes, SMU responded, holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless while rattling off back-to-back 3-pointers to regain the lead. Mays, followed with a shot from Mallory Singleton from the top of the arc, putting SMU up, 37-36, with 13:26 left to play.
While both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket for the next three and a half minutes, it would be Rutgers that broke the drought. Sophomore Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.), who came off the bench for 12 points in Saturday’s win, drilled two shots from the free throw line, returning the lead to RU for good.
SMU was held without a field goal over a period of nearly seven minutes, with the Mustangs’ only points during the span coming from Akil Simpson at the line. After Simpson sunk her second free throw to cut the Mustangs deficit to 40-39 with 8:49 to go, SMU would get no closer.
Rutgers proceeded to take a 6-0 run and kept the Mustangs at bay down the stretch with its performance on the boards. RU collected 16 rebounds in the game’s final four minutes, including 12 on the offensive glass to keep the game out of reach for SMU.
Junior forward Betnijah Laney’s (Clayton, Del.) double-double streak came to a halt, but she along with sophomore Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Miss.) hauled in 11 rebounds each.
SMU was led by Mays with 15 points, while Simpson and Kiara Perry each notched double-doubles. Simpson had 10 points and 11 boards, while Perry recorded 10 points and hauled in 11 rebounds.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team hits the road again, traveling to Memphis on Tuesday, Jan. 14 for its first ever meeting with the Tigers. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST).
- Rutgers improved to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in conference play. RU has won nine straight games.
- The Scarlet Knights have won nine straight, the longest win streak since winning 12 straight games from Dec. 8, 2007 – Jan. 26, 2008.
- RU has been victorious in all eight home contests. The Scarlet Knights have won their last 10 home games dating back to last season.
- RU began conference play 4-0 for the first time since opening the 2011-12 season with a 4-0 BIG EAST clip.
- The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 14 of its 15 games this season.
- Rutgers scored 36 of its 64 points in the paint. RU has scored 30 or more point in the paint in 10 of its last 11 games and 12 times this season. The team has won the points in the paint battle in 13 of 15 games and is 12-1 in those contests.
- SMU shot just 28.8 percent from the field against RU. The Scarlet Knights improved to 13-1 when holding the opposition to below 45 percent shooting. It was the fifth time this season Rutgers held an opponent below 30 percent.
- Freshman Tyler Scaife led RU with 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting. She came two points shy of tying her career-high, leading the team in scoring for the third time this season. It is the fourth time this season she scored at least 16 points.
- The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the sixth time this season. That starting five is 6-0. Those five accounted for 42 of RU’s 64 points.
- Junior Briyona Canty registered her first double-digit effort (12 points) since scoring 11 points on Dec. 12, 2013 against Wagner. She was one point shy of her season-high, notching her seventh double figure effort.
- It was just the fourth time this season that RU had less than three players in double figures.
- Sophomore Rachel Hollivay tied for the team lead with 11 rebounds. It was the first time since Nov. 22, 2013 against Howard that RU had two players with at least 10 boards. That feat has been accomplished three times this season.
- The Scarlet Knights won the battle on the glass, 50-46, against SMU. The team is 11-0 this season when besting the opposition on the glass.
- Sophomore Kahleah Copper made her first attempt from the field for the 14th time in 15 games this season. She leads RU with a 59.6 percent shooting clip.
- Copper has reached double figure scoring in 13 of RU’s 15 games this season, coming short of the double-digit mark with nine points against SMU. She notched back-to-back 20-point efforts in RU’s previous two games.
- Betnijah Laney had her double-double streak snapped against SMU, finishing with eight points and 11 rebounds. She owns nine double-doubles this season, while her streak of seven straight was the longest for an RU player in the last 10 years. Her season total is the most since Kia Vaughn’s 12 double-doubles in the 2006-07 season.
- Junior guard Syessence Davis dished out five assists Saturday, her ninth game this season with at least five helpers. She also recorded four steals, making it 10 times in 11 games she has committed at least three thefts. She came into the contest second in the American with 2.9 steals per game.
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