PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Scarlet Knights fell just short of earning their second Final Four bid in six years as No. 9/10 Rutgers (28-7, 14-2 BIG EAST) lost to No. 3/3 Tennessee (30-4, 13-1 SEC) 59-49 in the NCAA Tournament Philadelphia Regional final March 29. " />
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Rutgers Falls Just Short of Final Four Bid
Scarlet Knights Lose to Tennessee 59-49 in NCAA Tournament Regional Final
  • Posted on March 29, 2005 12:00:00 AM
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  • PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Scarlet Knights fell just short of earning their second Final Four bid in six years as No. 9/10 Rutgers (28-7, 14-2 BIG EAST) lost to No. 3/3 Tennessee (30-4, 13-1 SEC) 59-49 in the NCAA Tournament Philadelphia Regional final March 29.

    Rutgers trailed 30-24 at the break, but the Scarlet Knights received an emotional lift when senior Chelsea Newton (Monroe, LA) returned to the floor 38 seconds into the half after missing the previous 11 minutes due to an injury. A rejuvenated Rutgers put together a 9-1 run in the half’s first 5:12. A Michelle Campbell (Princeton, NJ) layup, a Cappie Pondexter (Chicago, IL) three-pointer from the top of the key and a Matee Ajavon (Newark, NJ) drive through the right side of the paint evened the score at 31-31 (15:42). Another Ajavon basket after a UT turnover gave Rutgers its first lead (33-31, 14:48) since the opening moments of the game.

    Rutgers forced seven Lady Vol turnovers in the first 6:17 of the period, and Tennessee did not make its first field goal of the half until the 12:07 mark, a basket that evened the score at 33-33. The two teams traded a pair of free throws, but the 35-35 draw (10:30) would be the last for RU. Tennessee later scored six unanswered points to pull ahead 49-41 with 3:52 remaining in the game, but the Lady Vols again turned the ball over on four straight possessions, and Rutgers took advantage with a 6-0 run. An Ajavon jumper that was reviewed and eventually called a two-pointer kept it a two-possession game (45-49, 1:21), and freshman Essence Carson (Paterson, NJ) finished the run with two free throws after she stripped the ball at midcourt and was fouled (47-49, 1:08). The Lady Vols struggled against Rutgers’ press on the ensuing inbounds, and Tennessee was forced to call a timeout, followed by a jump ball forced by the Scarlet Knights. UT retained possession, and on the third attempt to inbound the basketball, Rutgers was whistled for a questionable foul. Those two free throws would ignite a 10-2 game-ending spurt from Tennessee.

    Tennessee made just four field goals the entire second half (4-17, .235), but the Lady Vols made 20 of 23 (.870) free throws. Conversely, Rutgers shot 9-for-25 (.360) from the field and 6-for-8 (.750) from the charity stripe during the final 20 minutes.

    RU scored the first four points of the game, but Tennessee scored the next 11, and led by as many as nine (19-10, 10:22) in the first half. The Scarlet Knights were whistled for the first 10 fouls of the game, limiting RU’s personnel options, and Newton’s injury further shortened Rutgers’ bench.

    For the game, Rutgers shot 36.0 (18-50) percent from the field and 61.5 (8-13) percent from the free-throw line, while Tennessee shot 31.0 (13-42) percent overall and 82.9 (29-35) percent from the line. Rutgers was outrebounded 38-28, and was called for 13 more fouls (27-14).

    Pondexter scored a game-best 25 points, including 16 in the first half. She was named the Most Outstanding Performer of the Philadelphia Regional after averaging 24.0 points in four games. Pondexter was joined on the All-Regional Team by Ajavon, who scored 12 points against the Lady Volunteers.

    RU finished the season with a 28-7 record, a total that tied for the fourth-most wins in school history. The Scarlet Knights won their first-ever BIG EAST regular-season crown (14-2), finished as the runners-up at the BIG EAST Tournament and advanced to the Elite Eight for the fifth time in program history.

    Official Basketball Box Score
    Rutgers vs Tennessee
    3/29/05 9:07 pm at Liacouras Center; Philadelphia, PA
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    VISITORS: Rutgers 28-7
                              TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
    ## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
    34 CAMPBELL, Michelle.. f  2-5    0-1    0-0    2  0  2   4   4  0  1  0  0  25
    05 CARSON, Essence..... g  0-4    0-3    2-2    1  1  2   3   2  0  2  2  1  12
    22 AJAVON, Matee....... g  5-12   0-3    2-2    1  2  3   5  12  4  4  0  4  24
    25 PONDEXTER, Cappie... g  9-19   5-9    2-2    1  0  1   3  25  0  2  1  3  37
    32 NEWTON, Chelsea..... g  1-4    0-1    0-2    0  2  2   3   2  1  4  0  2  27
    03 LOCKE, Courtney.....    0-3    0-2    1-3    0  1  1   0   1  1  1  0  0   9
    13 JETT, Nikki.........    1-3    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   2  0  1  0  2  18
    42 THEODORIS, Mariota..    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  5  6   3   0  0  0  0  0  16
    52 CAHOE, Aquisha......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
    55 RICHMAN, Rebecca....    0-0    0-0    1-2    1  5  6   4   1  1  1  2  1  31
       TEAM................                         1  4  5             1
       Totals..............   18-50   5-19   8-13   8 20 28  27  49  7 17  5 13 200
    
    TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half: 18-50 36.0%   Game: 36.0%  DEADB
    3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half:  5-19 26.3%   Game: 26.3%   REBS
    F Throw % 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half:  8-13 61.5%   Game: 61.5%    3
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HOME TEAM: Tennessee 30-4
                              TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
    ## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
    14 HORNBUCKLE, Alexis.. f  2-9    0-0    5-6    1  5  6   3   9  1  3  0  3  38
    43 ELY, Shyra.......... f  2-11   0-0    5-7    2  5  7   1   9  2  3  0  0  35
    55 ANOSIKE, Nikki...... c  2-4    0-0   10-12   3  4  7   3  14  0  3  1  3  30
    05 ZOLMAN, Shanna...... g  5-13   2-7    4-4    0  3  3   0  16  1  2  0  1  35
    21 MOORE, Loree........ g  0-2    0-0    2-2    1  4  5   5   2  3  4  0  0  30
    13 REDDING, Dominique..    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
    25 JACKSON, Brittany...    2-2    2-2    0-0    0  0  0   2   6  0  3  0  1   7
    50 FLUKER, Tye'sha.....    0-1    0-0    3-4    3  3  6   0   3  0  0  2  1  24
       TEAM................                         2  2  4
       Totals..............   13-42   4-9   29-35  12 26 38  14  59  7 18  3  9 200
    
    TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half: 13-42 31.0%   Game: 31.0%  DEADB
    3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half:  4-9  44.4%   Game: 44.4%   REBS
    F Throw % 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half: 29-35 82.9%   Game: 82.9%    3
    
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Officials: Melissa Barlow, Clarke Stevens, Lawson Newton
    Technical fouls: Rutgers-None. Tennessee-None.
    Attendance: 6452
    Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
    Rutgers.......................   24   25  -   49
    Tennessee.....................   30   29  -   59
    NCAA Tournament Philadelphia Regional Final
    Pondexter named MOP; Ajavon named to All-Regional Team
    
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