PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 24, 2014) – Sophomore forward Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) exploded for 19 points and 12 rebounds to help lead the Rutgers women’s basketball team to a 63-52 second round WNIT victory over Harvard Monday night at the RAC.
Rutgers, which improves to 24-9 on the year, advances to face Seton Hall on Thursday, March 27 at the RAC. Tip-off between the two New Jersey schools is at 7 p.m.
With a 32-31 Crimson edge early in the second half, the Scarlet Knights responded on a 14-2 run and took over the lead for good. Copper fueled eight of the run’s 14 points as RU led 45-34 at the midway point of the second stanza. Harvard pulled no closer than six, 46-40, with 7:45 remaining, and in the game’s final minutes Rutgers pushed its advantage back up to as many as 12.
Copper collected her fourth double-double of the year in the victory and was joined by junior Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) in double digits. Laney shot 6-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe for 17 points on the night.
In all, the Scarlet Knights took advantage of 20 Harvard turnovers resulting in 21 points.
Rutgers pushed tempo at the tip, racing out to a 14-5 advantage eight minutes into the contest. The momentum shifted, however, as Harvard responded by outscoring RU 10-0 over the next three and a half minutes for its first lead of the night. The Crimson’s Kit Metoyer knocked down a 3-pointer to cap the run, giving Harvard a 15-14 lead with 8:38 left in the half.
Moments later, with the score knotted at 17-17 and 4:15 left until the half, a pair of free throws by Copper returned the lead back to the Scarlet Knights, an edge they would hold until the early moments of the second half. Over the final 2:30 of the opening half, RU outscored Harvard, 7-1, and limited the Crimson to just one made free throw during the span, taking a 29-23 lead into the half.
Junior guard Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) and redshirt sophomore guard Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) combined for 13 of RU’s 15 assists, with Davis dishing out a season-high eight helpers.
The Crimson was led by Jasmine Evans with 15 points and six boards. Christine Clark contributed 11 points in the loss. Harvard ends the 2013-14 season at 22-8 overall.
Tickets for Thursday’s game against Seton Hall are available by calling 866-445-GORU or online here.
Reserve tickets (100 level) are $25, general admission tickets (200 or 300 level) are $10 and courtside seating is $50 for the third round game. Rutgers student are free with student ID.
Parking is $10 and will be collected upon entrance to the Scarlet or Green lots at the RAC. Parking is on a first-come-first-served basis.
Doors to the RAC will open at 6:00 p.m. and the parking lots will open at 5:30 p.m.
- Rutgers improved to 24-9 on the year. RU reaches the 24-win mark for the first time since the 2007-08 season when the Scarlet Knights ended the year at 27-7 overall.
- RU improved to 14-3 at home in 2013-14 and 149-23 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The squad’s 14 home wins are the most since the 2007-08 season, as head coach C. Vivian Stringer guided Rutgers to at least 14 home wins for the seventh time in her tenure.
- With its second-ever WNIT victory, the Scarlet Knights improved to 106-63 in post-season action.
- Sophomore Kahleah Copper posted her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
- Copper scored in double figures for the fourth-straight game 27th time this season to lead the Scarlet Knights. She finished the contest with a 7-of-16 shooting clip.
- Junior Syessence Davis dished the ball out eight times against the Crimson, her highest assist total of the season. Prior, Davis recorded seven assists on five occasions.
- Davis swiped the ball away three times, the 23rd time this season she had at least three steals.
- With her three steals against the Crimson, Davis has 97 steals on the season and needs two more thefts to surpass Tasha Pointer (1997-98) for third on the single season list.
- Davis matched her season-high of 39 minutes for the third time this season and first since logging 39 at SMU on Feb. 8.
- Junior Betnijah Laney scored in double figures to the second-straight game and 22nd time overall this season.
- Sophomore Rachel Hollivay recorded at least one block for the 16th consecutive game. With two blocks, she bumped her single-season school record total to 103 with the effort.
- Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty handed the ball out five times Monday night, her highest assist mark since matching that total on Jan. 22 at UCF.
- The Scarlet Knights forced Harvard into 20 turnovers, the second-straight game the squad forced the opposition into 20 miscues.
- Conversely, RU committed only eight turnovers Monday night. The turnover total was the team’s lowest since suffering just six in the 90-50 win over UCF on Feb. 15. It was the third time this season the squad had less than 10 turnovers.
- RU led, 29-23, at the half and improved to 20-2 when leading at intermission.
- For the fifth-straight game, RU got to the free throw line more than the opposition. The Scarlet Knights recorded 20 or more attempts from the charity stripe in four of those five games.
- With her five made attempts from the charity stripe, Kahleah Copper moved into a tie for seventh on the single season free throws made list with 125.
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