PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (January 25, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team overcame a six-point second half deficit to bounce back for a 74-68 victory over Temple at McGonigle Hall on Saturday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights had four players in double figures, as they upped their overall mark to 15-4 and 6-2 in the American Athletic Conference. Junior forward Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) collected her 10th double-double of the year with a team-high 24 points and 10 boards and sophomore forward Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) poured in 20 points, four steals and four assists in front of a hometown crowd. Redshirt junior Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) came off the bench for 13 points and sophomore center Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Miss.) added 11 points and five blocks.
Rutgers trailed for just the fifth time this season at the half, entering the locker room down by two, 24-22.
Temple opened up the contest outscoring RU 6-0, holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless for the game’s first four minutes. Canty gave Rutgers its first points of the game at the 16 minute mark off a traditional three-point play.
The squads tied the game up twice until Laney hit the second shot of a two shot award at the line to give RU its first lead of the afternoon, 14-13, with 6:57 remaining in the first half. The lead swung back and forth for the next two minutes, as Copper gave the Scarlet Knights its last advantage of the opening stanza after converting a put back off a missed lay-up from Canty. The points gave RU an 18-17 edge at the 3:44 mark.
The Owls took a 7-0 run for six-point, 24-18 edge with 1:36 left until the half, however during the final moments, RU kept Temple away from the basket and lowered its deficit to two at the horn. Rutgers had back-to-back buckets from Hollivay and freshman guard Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) and on Temple’s final possession of the half, Hollivay recorded three consecutive blocks to keep the Owls at bay.
After falling behind by as many as six in the first five minutes of the second half, Canty scored five straight points to help lead the Scarlet Knight rally. After a lay-up, Canty once again went to the hole on RU’s next possession. Fouled on the play, Canty hit the backend of a two shot award and then intercepted Temple’s inbounds pass for an easy lay-up to give her Scarlet Knights a 35-34 lead with 13:37 remaining.
The lead would change hands six times until nearly the halfway point of the second half, when RU went on a 10-2 run to take over the game.
Feyonda Fitzgerald, who finished with a game-high 25 points, drained a 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining to pull Temple within three, 51-48, but the Owls would get no closer. The Scarlet Knights responded with a 12-0 run for its largest lead of the afternoon, 63-48.
Rutgers, which shot just 33.3 percent (10-of-30) in the first half, shot 58.1 percent (18-of-31) in the second half.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home to the RAC to begin a three-game homestand, starting with No. 5 Louisville on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. The game will air on the CBS SportsNetwork with Brent Stover and Debbie Antonelli on the call.
- Rutgers won its second consecutive game Saturday to improve to 15-4 overall and 6-2 in the American. Additionally the Scarlet Knights improved to 6-2 on the road. The team is now one win shy of matching its total from the 2012-13 season.
- The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the 10th time this season. That starting five is 8-2.
- RU had four players score in double figures for the first time since Dec. 15 against Sacred Heart.
- The team has had three players or more players in double figures 14 times in 19 games.
- A member of the Scarlet Knights has scored 20+ points 12 times in 2013-14.
- The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 18 of their 19 games this season and in all seven American Athletic Conference contests. It was the sixth time this season RU scored at least 70 points.
- Rutgers scored 42 of its 74 points in the paint, scoring at least 30 in the paint for the 16th time in 19 games this season. The team has won the points in the paints battle in 16 of 19 games and is 15-1 in those contests.
- RU tied its season-high in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 2-of-3 from beyond the arc for a 66.7 percent clip.
- Kahleah Copper, who finished with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, has reached double figure scoring in 17 of RU’s 19 games this season. The 20-point effort was her seventh of the season.
- Copper reached the 20+ point milestone seven times this season, the most since Brittany Ray collected 20+ point games in 2009-10.
- Copper also recorded four steals against Temple, tying her career-high set on Nov. 30 against Texas Tech.
- Betnijah Laney scored in double figures for the first time since Jan. 14 at Memphis, recording her 10th double-double of the season by tying her career-high with 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. She is now two double-doubles shy of tying Kia Vaughn’s 12 recording during the 2006-07 season.
- The 20-point effort was Laney’s second this season, while the double-double was her first since Jan. 7 at Cincinnati.
- Briyona Canty captured double figures by tying her career-high of 13 points. She has reached double digit scoring in eight games this season.
- Syessence Davis was one assist short of tying her season-high notching six against Temple. Davis has recorded at least five assists in 12 games this season.
- For the third time in the last four games, three RU players recorded at least four assists. Davis led the way with six, while Copper recorded four and Canty recorded four. It was the ninth time this season the Scarlet Knights accomplished that feat.
- Davis also had a three steals marking her 12th game this season with three or more thefts.
- RU recorded double-digit steals (10) for the eighth time this season and first time since Jan. 4 against Houston (11).
- Rachel Hollivay had five blocks against the Owls, her second straight game with five rejections and fifth game this season with five or more stuffs. In the last five games, Hollivay has averaged 3.6 rejections per game. The sophomore center has notched a minimum of three blocks in 11 of the last 16 games.
- Rutgers recorded at least eight blocks as a team for the sixth time in 2013-14 and first time since Jan. 11 vs. SMU. The team’s season-high is nine, recorded in wins against Davidson (Dec. 4), Texas Tech (Nov. 30) and Howard (Nov. 22). Hollivay swatted all nine shots against Howard.
- RU tied for its lowest first half scoring output of the season Saturday, recording 22 points in the opening stanza. Conversely, the Scarlet Knights tallied a new season-high in second half scoring, notching 52 points on 18-of-31 (58.1 percent) shooting.
- The Scarlet Knights entered the locker room at halftime trailing the opposition for just the fifth time this season.
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