BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (March 31, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT on Monday night with a thrilling 55-50 victory over Bowling Green, handing the Falcons their first and only loss at the Stroh Center this season.
Rutgers improved to 26-9 overall and will face a familiar foe in USF in the semifinals. The fellow American and former BIG EAST rivals will meet on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Sun Dome. The Scarlet Knights and Bulls spilt the season series.
Rutgers, who trailed by as many as eight in the first half, blew open the game on a 15-0 second half run and took away Bowling Green’s long-range game. The Falcons, who averaged 7.6 three-pointers per contest, made only four in the loss.
Down 29-25 at the 17:20 mark of the second half, RU held the Falcons scoreless for over five minutes to not only its gain its first lead of the night, but an advantage they would never relinquish. Four different Scarlet Knights got into the scoring mix as RU went up by 11, 40-29, with 12:38 left to play.
The Scarlet Knights pushed it lead to as many as 12, as a fast break by Tyler Scaife (Little Rock, Ark.) gave RU a 45-33 lead with 8:23 remaining. However, Bowling Green cut the RU edge down to three by the 5:52 mark. The Falcons’ Jillian Halfhill knocked down a three to cap a 9-0 run and Rutgers led only 45-42 with under six minutes remaining. The Falcons though would never draw any closer than three the rest of the night.
A Betnijah Laney (Clayton, Del.) pull-up jumper gave RU a five-point cushion, 53-48, with 29 seconds, but it would still be a dramatic finish to end the night.
On the next possession, the Falcons’ Alexis Rogers found her way to the basket as the BGSU trailed by three, 53-50, with 16 seconds left.
Bowling Green fouled the Scarlet Knights to stop the clock and sent Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) to the line. Copper missed her attempt from the stripe with Erica Donovan hauling in the rebound for the Falcons. Donovan attempted a three from the right side of the arc in an attempt to force the Scarlet Knights into a second-straight overtime game, but her shot was off its mark. Scaife grabbed the rebound and went to the line with four seconds left to seal the victory.
Copper finished the night with 14 points, while Scaife came off the bench for 13 in the victory. Briyona Canty (Willingboro, N.J.) added in 11 points along with four steals. Additionally, Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Miss.) hauled in nine boards and swatted away four Falcon shots.
Bowling Green was led by Rogers with a game-high 16 points. Donovan added in 12 and Halfhill scored 10 points in the loss.
The Falcons end the 2013-14 campaign at 30-5 and 16-1 at the Stroh Center.
- Rutgers improved to 26-9 overall on the season, the most wins by the Scarlet Knights since the 2007-08 season. Rutgers last reached the 26-win mark in 2007-08 when RU finished the season at 27-7.
- The win at the Stroh Center improved the Scarlet Knights to 9-4 on the road. RU’s win snapped Bowling Green’s 16-game home win streak. BGSU’s last loss was to Drexel in the third round of last year’s WNIT.
- Kahleah Copper led the Scarlet Knights with 14 points. She led RU in scoring for the 16th time this season and reached double figure scoring for the 29th time in 2013-14.
- Rachel Hollivay grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, the ninth time this year she has led the Scarlet Knight on the boards.
- RU led the war on the glass, 38-34. RU improved to 20-2 when outrebounding the opponent.
- Rutgers trailed 25-21 at the half, but outscored the Falcons, 34-25 in the second half. The Scarlet Knights improved to 6-7 when trailing at the intermission.
- The Scarlet Knights recorded 30 points in the paint on Monday night. RU has scored 30 or more points in the pain in 26 of its 35 games this season.
- With eight rebounds, Betnijah Laney now has 292 rebounds on the season, needing two more boards to tie Kathy Glutz (1976-77) for 10th on the single season rebounding list.
- Syessence Davis registered one steal to take sole possession of third on the single season steals list. She now has 99 steals on the year and moved past currently assistant coach Tasha Pointer (1997—98) on the list.
- Rachel Hollivay swatted way four Bowling Green shots to up her season mark to 115 rejections on the season.
- Freshman Tyler Scaife moved onto the single season field goals attempted list. She went 5-of-13 from the floor against the Falcons and now has 455 attempts from the floor to move into 10th all-time. She needs five more attempts to move past Terry Dorner (1981-82) into ninth.
- The Scarlet Knights improved to 108-63 all-time in post-season appearances.
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