PISCATAWAY, N.J. (January 28, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team held a 38-36 halftime lead despite its two top scorers on the bench with foul trouble for a majority of the first half and led by as many as six in the second half, but No. 5 Louisville rallied for an 80-71 win over the Scarlet Knights Tuesday night at the RAC.
Rutgers, which had won two straight since its loss to No. 1 UConn, fell to 15-5 overall and 6-3 in the American. The Cardinals meanwhile, RU’s fourth top 25 opponent of the season, improved to 21-1 in their 14th straight win. Louisville also upped its mark to 9-0 in the league.
Freshman guard Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.), who had a season-low two points in RU last game, rebounded to post a new career-high, netting 25 points in the loss as the Scarlet Knight’s lone player in double figures.
Louisville was led by Shoni Schimmel with 24 points, while Asia Taylor added in 19 points and Sara Hammond contributed 18 in the win.
The Scarlet Knights entered the half up 38-36 despite sophomore forward sophomore Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) and junior forward Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) seeing limited minutes with foul trouble.
Louisville led by as many as seven points in the early portion of the game and after Schimmel knocked down one of her four 3-pointers on the night to give the Cardinals a 21-15 edge with 11:28 on the clock, Rutgers began to chip away at their deficit.
RU followed with a 5-0 run over the next minute and a half, with all five points coming from Scaife. The run closed the gap to within one, 21-20. Louisville responded with its own 5-0 run, but back-to-back buckets by Scaife made it a one-point ball game again, as RU trailed 25-24 with eight minutes left until the intermission.
The Cardinals established a 34-28 advantage with 5:12 to go, as a Scaife bucket and a 3-pointer by sophomore Precious Person (Jonesboro, Ga.) again helped their squad whittle down the deficit to one, 34-33, in RU’s next two trips down the court.
Although Schimmel managed to score on Louisville’s next possession, it was consecutive layups from redshirt junior Alexis Burke (Bainbridge, Ga.) that would give RU its first lead of the game. Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) found Burke driving down the middle of the paint to give Rutgers a 37-36 lead. Canty then closed out the half by sinking one of two from the free throw line for the 38-36 RU halftime lead.
Rutgers managed to lead by six three times in the second half, the final time coming off a free throw by Laney with 10:55 left in the game and the Scarlet Knights holding on to a 53-47 edge. Only moments later, Louisville would employ a 14-2 run, including three three-point plays, to take back the lead for good.
After Schimmel ended the Cardinal run with another one of her 3-pointers for a 65-57 Louisville edge with 7:32 remaining, Scaife knocked down four points from the free throw line to close RU’s deficit down to three. Scaife’s fourth and final free throw saw RU down just 64-61 with 5:36 to go.
Another Scaife jumper with 4:53 left saw Rutgers down only 66-63 with 4:53 left to play, but the Scarlet Knights would not draw any closer.
Overall, Louisville outscored Rutgers, 44-33, in the second half and down the stretch took its largest lead of the night with the 80-71 final margin.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team will welcome Memphis to the RAC for the first time in history for its next contest. Tipoff is set for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Julianne Viani and Jonathan Yardley providing the action.
- Rutgers had its two-game win streak snapped against Louisville, falling to 15-5 overall and 6-3 in the American. The loss was just the second at the RAC this season, both of which came against top-5 opponents. Rutgers fell to 8-2 at home.
- The Scarlet Knights lost back-to-back home contests for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
- The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Syessence Davis and Betnijah Laney was used for the 11th time this season. That starting five is 8-3.
- Rutgers had just one player score in double figures for the first time this season. The team has had three or more players in double figures 14 times in 20 games.
- The Scarlet Knights have scored 60 or more points in 19 of their 20 games this season and in all eight American Athletic Conference contests. It was the seventh time this season RU scored at least 70 points.
- The Scarlet Knights shot 51.9 percent (28-of-54) from the field, reaching the 50 percent mark for the fifth time this season and third time in the last six games.
- Rutgers shot a season-best 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line, the team’s best mark since shooting 87.0 percent (20-of-23) on Feb. 16, 2013 against UConn. It was the sixth game this season in which RU shot at least 70 percent from the charity stripe.
- Rutgers scored 32 of its 71 points in the paint, scoring at least 30 in the paint for the 17th time in 20 games this season.
- Freshman Tyler Scaife led all scorers with 25 points, resetting her career-high. She tied her career marks in free throws made (five), free throw percentage (1,000) and field goals made (10).
- Scaife entered halftime with double-digit points (13) for the seventh time this season, shooting 6-of-9 in the opening stanza. She was two points shy of her career high of 15 points in the first half set against UConn (Jan. 19).
- Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty finished second on the team in scoring with nine points. She recorded at least four assists for the third straight game.
- The Scarlet Knights’ 38 first-half points was their second highest mark in conference play and most since scoring 39 points in the conference-opener against USF.
- Junior guard Syessence Davis tied Rachel Hollivay with a team-high six rebounds. It was the second time this season Davis lead the team on the glass, while the six boards were her most since snagging six against Georgia on Dec. 21.
- Davis also had a four steals, marking her 13th game this season with three or more thefts.
- Rachel Hollivay had three blocks against the Cardinals, the fifth time in six games she has swatted at least three shots. The sophomore center has notched a minimum of three blocks in 12 of the last 17 games.
- Precious Person logged 21 minutes against the Cardinals Tuesday night, the most action of her career. She shot 2-of-3 from the field for five points, recording an assist, a steal, a block and a rebound.
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