PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 27, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the WNIT after a double overtime victory over in-state rival Seton Hall, 91-79, in a thriller at the RAC Thursday night.
The Scarlet Knights will travel to Bowling Green for quarterfinal play with a 7 p.m. tip scheduled for Monday night. The Falcons defeated Michigan, 63-53, in other third round action Thursday night.
RU trailed by eight, 60-52, as the Pirates held their largest lead of the evening with 2:22 left in regulation. That is when the Scarlet Knights started their comeback to continue the 2013-14 season. Rutgers, not willing to have its season end, scored nine unanswered points and held Seton Hall scoreless for just over two minutes to set up a dramatic finish to regulation.
Junior Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) knocked down two free throws with 1:03 to pull her squad within one, 60-59, and with 11 seconds left in regulation, she hit a jumper in the lane to give the Scarlet Knights their first lead since the 13:42 mark of the second half. After Laney’s bucket gave RU a 61-60 lead, Seton Hall wasted no time in inbounding the ball and racing down court, where Ka-Deidre Simons found a gap to give the Pirates a 62-61 advantage with only five seconds remaining.
Redshirt sophomore Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) was fouled at mid-court with just .2 seconds left and headed to the line. Missing the first attempt, Canty’s second free throw was good and forced overtime with the two schools knotted at 62-62. For Canty, who finished with eight points, it was her only score of regulation.
After trading leads in the opening three minutes of the first overtime, Rutgers went on a 6-1 run to open up a 72-66 edge with 1:54 to go. Seton Hall, however, held the Scarlet Knights scoreless for the remainder of the stanza and racked up six unanswered points to send the game into double overtime. A Tabatha Richardson-Smith layup with 15 seconds remaining tied the game up at 72-72, the contest’s 11th tie of the night.
The second overtime was all Rutgers, as the Scarlet Knights outscored the Pirates, 19-7, for the win. RU denied Seton Hall a field goal until less than a minute remained, while the Scarlet Knights were clutch from the free throw line, hitting 13-of-14. Laney went a perfect 6-of-6 while Canty shot 4-of-4 from the stripe during the second OT.
Three Scarlet Knights finished the game with at least 20 points, led by a career-high 29 from freshman Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) off the bench and a double-double by Laney. Scaife went 12-of-24 from the field after coming off the RU bench for the second-straight game and was a perfect 5-of-5 at the line. Copper, meanwhile, added in 27 points, including a 13-of-15 night from the line.
RU outrebounded the Pirates, 51-44, with Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Miss.) collecting a game-high 14 boards in the win. The sophomore center also swatted away eight Seton Hall shots, one short of her career-high.
Seton Hall was led by Richardson-Smith with 28 points, while Ka-Deidre Simmons chipped in 16 points and Alexis Brown netted 11 in the loss.
Rutgers improved to 25-9 overall, while Seton Hall ends the 2013-14 campaign at 20-14.
- Rutgers improved to 25-9 on the year. RU reaches the 25-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 15-3 at home in 2013-14 and 150-23 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season. The squad’s 15 home wins tie the most in a single season under head coach C. Vivian Stringer. RU also went 15-3 at home in the 1998-99 season.
- The Scarlet Knights played in the second overtime game of the season and first since falling, 74-73, at Memphis on Jan. 14. It was the squad’s first double-overtime game since Dec. 5, 2011, when Rutgers fell, 92-81, at Miami.
- RU evened its record in overtime this season at 1-1.
- With its third-ever WNIT victory, the Scarlet Knights improved to 107-63 in post-season action.
- RU had at least three players score in double figures for the 25th time this season.
- Rutgers had three players with at least 20 points for the first time this season. It was the fifth time this season RU had at least two players score 20+ points in the same game and third time that two of those players were Scaife and Copper.
- As a team, the Scarlet Knights shot 85.4 percent (35-for-41) from the free throw line. The free throw total shattered the team’s previous high of 23 made vs. Delaware and was the third-best percentage of the season.
- RU converted at least 30 free throws for the third time in the last 10 seasons. The Scarlet Knights recorded 31at Georgetown on Feb. 21, 2004 and 30 against Georgetown on Dec. 9, 2012.
- Freshman Tyler Scaife went off for 29 points – the most points for a Scarlet Knight this season and highest total since April Sykes dropped 32 points on Dec. 12, 2010 at Boston College.
- Scaife went 5-for-5 from the free throw line for her10th perfect free throw clip time this season.
- Scaife reset her career-highs in field goals attempted and made with her 12-of-24 shooting clip.
- Sophomore Kahleah Copper notched a career-high 27 points, her team-leading 11th 20-point effort of the season. It was Copper’s first 20-point game since dropping 22 on March 8 against SMU. The double-figure effort was her 28th this season.
- Junior Betnijah Laney posted her 15th double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds. She scored in double figures to the third-straight game and 23rd time overall this season. The 20-point effort was her third of the year.
- Laney set a new career-high with eight made free throws. She was perfect from the line for the eighth time this year.
- Sophomore Rachel Hollivay recorded at least eight blocks for the third time this season, coming one swat shy of tying her career-high of nine. Hollivay now has 111 this season, the third-highest single-season blocks total – male or female – in Rutgers history. Only Hamady Ndiaye (2009-10) and Roy Hinson (1982-83) blocked more shots in a single season, swatting 145 and 144, respectively.
- Copper set a new career-high with her 13-of-15 clip from the free throw line. The 13 made free throws were the most of any Scarlet Knight this season.
- Junior Syessence Davis dished the ball out least four times for the fourth time in five games.
- Copper posted three steals in the contest – her second three-steal game of the WNIT.
- Sophomore Rachel Hollivay hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds to lead RU, her most since snagging 10 boards at SMU on Feb. 8. She has grabbed double-digit rebounds four times this season.
- RU trailed at the half against Seton Hall, 30-29, the first time of the WNIT the Scarlet Knights trailed after the opening stanza. Rutgers moved to 5-7 this season when trailing after the first half.
- RU snagged at least 50 rebounds as a team (51) for the fourth time this season. It was the first 50-rebound mark since Jan. 11 vs. SMU.
- For the sixth-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 five of those six games.
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