ORLANDO, Fla. (January 22, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team returned to the win column by never trailing in a 69-48 victory over UCF on Wednesday night at CFE Arena.
The Scarlet Knights snapped its two-game slide to improve to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in the American Athletic Conference. UCF fell to 8-10 overall and 1-6 in league play in their sixth straight loss.
Three Scarlet Knights landed in double digits led by junior forward Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 16 points, freshman guard Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) with 13 points and redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) with 11 points. Rutgers shot 50.8 percent from the field (30-of-59), marking the fourth time the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the floor this season.
In the opening minutes of the first half, the game was tied up twice and RU was unable to enjoy more than a four-point lead. With the Scarlet Knights leading by one, 14-13, at the 12:20 mark, Rutgers broke open the game in taking an 8-1 run over the next three minutes for 22-14 edge with 9:11, despite sophomore forward Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.), sophomore center Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Miss.), junior center Christa Evans (Jackson, N.J.) and Canty all in foul trouble.
UCF pulled to within four with Stephanie Taylor and Erika Jones each draining a pair of shots from the line, as the Knights trailed, 22-18 with 8:17 left in the first half. However, the Scarlet Knights held UCF scoreless for the next five minutes while rattling off seven unanswered points. Junior Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) capped the run with a steal and the “and one” on the other end of the court for a 29-18 RU edge with just over four minutes left until the intermission.
Davis would go on to finish the game with three steals and tying her season-high with seven assists as RU handed out a season-high 22 helpers.
Rutgers managed to extend its lead by as many as 14 in the final minutes and enter the half up, 36-26.
The Scarlet Knights opened up the second half on a 13-2 tear, which saw RU holding UCF to only one field goal for the first six minutes of the half. The Knights would only connected on nine field goals total in the second stanza as RU outscored UCF, 33-22, over the period and led by as many as 34.
Laney connected a jumper with 7:12 remaining to put her Scarlet Knights up 67-33 for their largest advantage of the night.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns to action at Temple on Saturday, Jan. 25th for a 2 p.m. meeting with the Owls. The game will air on the American Digital Network with Jeff Brightwell and Leah Secondo on the call.
- Rutgers snapped a two-game losing streak to improve to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in the American. Additionally the Scarlet Knights improved to 5-2 on the road.
- The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the ninth time this season. That starting five is 6-2.
- Rutgers led by as many as 34 points. RU has held 30+ point leads on five teams this season – (37 - vs. Wagner; 33 - vs. Sacred Heart; 31 – vs. Howard; 31 - at Davidson). It was the second time the Scarlet Knights had a 30+ point edge against on the road and first against an American opponent this season.
- UCF shot 25 percent from the floor (14-of-56), it’s second lowest shooting percentage of the season. RU has held an opponent to under 30 percent shooting six times this season.
- RU had 21 fast break points, while UCF had none. Rutgers’ season high in fast break points this season is 28 against Wagner. The Seahawks were also held without a fast break bucket.
- The Scarlet Knights handed the ball out a season-high 22 times. Their previous high this season was 21 in the overtime loss at Memphis on Jan. 14.
- The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 17 of their 18 games this season and in all seven American Athletic Conference contests.
- RU has had three players or more players in double figures 13 times in 18 games.
- Kahleah Copper, who finished with 16 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the floor, has reached double figure scoring in 16 of RU’s 18 games this season.
- Copper shot 88.9 percent from the floor, almost tying her career mark in field goal percentage having shot 90 percent (9-of-10) at Cincinnati on Jan. 7. Copper has shot 80 percent or better in three games this season.
- Copper made her first attempt from the field for the 17th time in 18 games this season, scoring the first bucket of the game 35 seconds into the contest.
- Tyler Scaife notched a double-digit effort for the 14th time in 18 games. She has reached double figures in the last four straight contest and in 11 of the last 12 contests.
- Briyona Canty captured double figures with 11 against UCF. She entered the game having averaged only 2.0 points in RU’s two losses. She has reached double digit scoring in seven games this season.
- Syessence Davis tied her season-high with seven assists against UCF for the fourth time this year. She has also had seen assists in games with Howard (Nov. 22), USF (Dec. 28) and Houston (Jan. 4).
- Davis also had a game-high three steals marking the 11th game this season with three or more thefts.
- Rachel Hollivay had five blocks against the Knights, the most rejections by the sophomore since her five at Davidson (Dec. 4). In the last four games, Hollivay has averaged 3.25 rejections per game.
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