TAMPA, Fla. (April 2, 2014) – The Rutgers women’s basketball team will play for the 2014 WNIT championship after knocking off USF, 62-52, in the semifinals Wednesday night at the Sun Dome. The Scarlet Knights will take on UTEP in the WNIT championship game.
The WNIT championship game will be played in El Paso, Texas at UTEP's Don Haskins Center. The championship game will tip off at 3 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, April 5 and be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Sophomores Rachel Hollivay (Columbus, Ga.) and Kahleah Copper (Philadelphia, Pa.) also had 12 points in the win. Hollivay also batted way eight USF shots, one shy of her career-mark.
The first half endured seven ties and three lead changes as RU entered the intermission ahead 30-28.
With the game knotted at 32-32 three minutes into the second half, the Scarlet Knights reeled off an 8-2 run, with six points coming from the hands of Scaife, to take over the lead for good. Scaife capped the run to give RU a 40-34 edge with 12:01 remaining.
The Bulls punched back to within one, scoring five unanswered points to follow. USF’s Inga Orekhova hit her first three of the night after going 1-of-14 from the field and 0-of-8 from long range up until that point. She cut the Scarlet Knights lead to 40-39 with 10:24 to go.
Rutgers was up 44-42 with just under nine minutes to play when the Scarlet Knights produced an 8-2 run for its largest lead of the night. Scaife gave RU an eight-point edge with 4:26 left to play off a steal and a fast break for a 52-44 advantage.
USF still threatened to end RU’s WNIT run though as the Bulls whittled its deficit down to two with 2:48 remaining. The Bulls went on a 7-1 run, limiting the Scarlet Knights to just a free throw coming from the hands of Canty. Courtney Williams, who lifted the Bulls to the semifinals with a buzzer-beating three against Mississippi, threw the ball up and in from underneath the basket as Rutgers clung to a 53-51 lead.
However, Williams’ layup would be the last USF field goal of the night. Rutgers would outscore USF, 9-1, over the final 2:48 for the final margin and a trip to the championship game.
Williams finished the night with 18 points for the Bulls, while Akila McDonald and Orekhova had 10 points apiece in the loss.
- Rutgers improved to 27-9 overall heading into the WNIT championship game. It is the most wins since 2007-08 when the Scarlet Knights finished the year at 27-7 and played in the NCAA Elite Eight.
- With the 62 points against the Bulls, Rutgers has scored 60 or more points in 29 of their 36 games.
- RU improved to 10-4 in road games in 2013-14.
- Briyona Canty captured her first double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Her 12 points were one shy of her career-high, while her 12 rebounds is a new career mark for the redshirt sophomore. Canty surpasses her previous high of eight from the last meeting with USF (Mar. 3). It was the second time this season and third time her career she has led the squad in rebounds.
- Tyler Scaife led the squad in scoring for the 13th time in 2013-14 and notched her seventh 20+ point effort with her 22 points against the Bulls.
- A member of the Scarlet Knights has now scored 20 or more points 22 times in 2013-14.
- Rachel Hollivay swatted away eight USF shots in the victory, bringing her season total to 123. Her eight rejections were one shy of her career mark. In WNIT action, the sophomore center is averaging 4.8 blocks per game.
- Syessence Davis became the third Scarlet Knight with 100 or more steals in a season with her three thefts against USF brining her season total to 102. She needs three more thefts to move past Denise Kenney (77-78) into second on the single season leaders list. Only Kenney and Liz Hanson (93-94) have captured more steals in a season.
- Tyler Scaife went 10-19 from the field and is four field goals shy of cracking the single season field goal attempts list. She now has 215 on the year. Kahleah Copper finished 6-of-12 from the field and is seven shots shy of cracking the list. She has 213 on the season.
- With the two-point 30-28 halftime edge, RU improved to 21-2 when leading at the intermission.
- RU won the battle of the boards, 44-35, to improve 21-2 when outrebounding the opponent.
- Rutgers shot 28-of-57 from the floor ending the night at a 49.1% clip, RU’s best shooting performance since going 39-of-65 for 60% at UCF (Feb. 15). RU has shot 45% or better from the floor in 18 games.
- The Scarlet Knights improved to 109-63 in post-season contests including a 5-0 mark in their first WNIT appearance.
- RU captured 36 points in the paint, making it 27 of its 36 games notching 30 or more points inside.
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