HOUSTON, Texas (February 11, 2014) – C. Vivian Stringer captured her 400th win as head coach of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, as the Scarlet Knights handed Houston a 74-42 loss at Hofheinz Arena on Tuesday night.
Stringer, who is in her 19th season “On The Banks,” has compiled a 400-202 record at Rutgers. Last season, she became just the seventh coach – men’s or women’s – to compile 900 career victories. In her 43 seasons as a head coach, Stringer holds a 920-337 record.
The win over the Cougars, the Scarlet Knights’ fourth straight, improved RU to 19-5 overall and 10-3 in the American Athletic Conference. It was RU’s largest margin of victory this season. Houston, which was coming off its first conference win of the season Saturday, 48-39, at Cincinnati, dropped to 5-19 overall and 1-12 in league play.
Rutgers had four players in double figures, led by sophomore forward Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) and freshman guard Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) with 16 points each. Junior forward Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) added 14, while redshirt sophomore guard Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) had 12 from off the bench.
Yaseem Thompson led Houston with 24 points, the only Cougar in double figures in the loss.
Copper started with the hot hand, helping the Scarlet Knights to a 14-6 lead to open the game. RU’s leading scorer picked up her second foul with less than 12 minutes remaining and was forced to the bench. Scaife took over the scoring duties, netting 10 of her 12 first half points with Copper sidelined in foul trouble.
Marche’ Amerson hit a jumper with 7:23 left in the opening half, as her Cougar squad trailed, 22-10. However, Houston would manage only one other field goal over that final span. Rutgers proceeded to take an 11-0 run holding the Cougars scoreless for just over six minutes and closed out the half on an 11-4 run.
The Scarlet Knights held a 33-14 advantage at halftime and proceeded to add on to the lead in the second half. Rutgers went up by more than 20 points for good when Scaife blocked an Alecia Smith lay-up with 14:11 remaining and put the Scarlet Knights up 45-24 on the other end with a jumper from the right baseline while falling backwards. Scaife finished the night with three blocked shots.
RU led by as many as 37 points with four and a half minutes to play.
The Rutgers women’s basketball team returns home to the RAC to host UCF on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. It will be the annual “Play 4 Kay” game in supporting breast cancer awareness on the court, across the campus, in the community and beyond. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game to help “Pink Out” the RAC, with pink t-shirts available to the first 1,000 fans on Saturday.
• Rutgers won its fourth straight game by topping Houston, 74-42, Tuesday night in Houston, Texas. The Scarlet Knights improved to 19-5 overall and 10-3 in the American with the win.
• The 32-point margin of victory was RU’s largest this season, passing the team’s previous high of 31 recorded against Howard (Nov. 22) and Davidson (Dec. 4).
• With the win, head coach C. Vivian Stringer improved to 400-202 in her career “On the Banks.” She becomes the second head coach in Rutgers women’s basketball history after Theresa Grentz to reach to 400-win milestone.
• Rutgers posted its best mark from the free throw line this season, shooting 94.1 percent (16-of-17) from the charity stripe Tuesday night. The free throw percentage was RU’s best since shooting a perfect 7-of-7 against Boston College on Dec. 2, 2012. The Scarlet Knights have shot at least 70 percent from the free throw line eight times this season
• The starting lineup of Rachel Hollivay, Kahleah Copper, Tyler Scaife, Precious Person and Betnijah Laney was used for the first time this season.
• The Scarlet Knights had exactly four different players score in double figures for the fourth time this season and second time since the start of conference play.
• Rutgers has had three or more Scarlet Knights reach double figures in 18 of the first 24 games of the 2013-14 season.
• The Scarlet Knights have scored at least 60 points in 22 of 24 games this season.
• Hollivay finished the contest with two blocks. She now has 75 this season, tied for fourth on the single-season list with Tanya Hansen (1990-91).
• Sophomore Kahleah Copper scored 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting. It was her third straight contest and 20th time in 24 games scoring in double figures.
• Copper finished the contest 8-of-8 from the free throw line, the best shooting performance from the charity stripe in her career. She has recorded at least eight free throws in each of the last two games.
• With her 16 points and five assists against Houston, freshman Tyler Scaife has now reached double figures and recorded at least four assists in six of the last nine games. She scored 12 of her points in the first half, while she notched five-plus assists for the fifth time.
• Scaife scored in double figures for the fifth straight game and ninth time in 10 contests.
• Sophomore Briyona Canty recorded 12 points, finishing in double figures for the 10th time this season. It was her highest points total since recording 13 against Temple on Jan, 25.
• Junior Betnijah Laney amassed double-digit points for the 15th time this season, finishing with 14 points.
• Junior Alexis Burke scored seven points against Houston, her highest total since her career-high eight scored against La Salle on Nov. 17.
• Junior Syessence Davis’s nine points were her most since scoring that same total on Jan. 19 against UConn.
• Davis recorded at least three steals for the 16th time in the last 20 games.
• Laney and Canty tied for the team lead with four steals. It was the second time this season RU had two players with at least four steals, as Copper and Davis each notched four in a win over Texas Tech on Nov. 30.
• Sophomore Precious Person earned the second start of her career and first since Jan. 2, 2013 against La Salle during her rookie campaign. Her 26 minutes played are a new career-high.
• The Scarlet Knights edged Houston, 39-34, on the glass, winning the battle on the boards for the fourth straight game. Rutgers is 14-1 this season when out-rebounding the opposition.
• Scaife recorded a career-high three blocks against the Cougars. It was the first time in her career leading the team in blocks, as she became the second player this season after Rachel Hollivay to notch at least three blocks in a game.
• The Scarlet Knights shot 54.2 percent from the field in the first half of play – the sixth time this season they have shot at least 50 percent in the opening stanza. RU’s best first-half shooting performance was its 17-of-27 (63.0 percent) outing against Memphis (Jan. 14).
• RU was a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line in the first half against Houston. It was the first time in any half this season Rutgers was flawless from the charity stripe.
• Houston’s 14 first-half points were the lowest by any opponent the Scarlet Knights have faced this season. The total tied the lowest opponent scoring output in any half this season, as Davidson also recorded 14 second-half points on Dec. 4.
• RU recorded double-digit steals for the 11th time this season, tying its season high of 15 set on Nov. 29 against LSU.