No. 15 Rutgers jumps all over BC in 74-58 winBy DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)—Rutgers is playing this young season with newfound confidence.
For the second straight game the Scarlet Knights built a big lead in the second half before it slowly slipped away—yet there was no panic as they calmly held on for another victory Wednesday night.
Khadijah Rushdan and Monique Oliver each scored 15 points to help No. 15 Rutgers beat Boston College 74-58.
“Our energy has stayed up and hasn’t been like that the past couple years, we’d get down and not know how to handle it,” Rushdan said. “We’d stop executing. This year we understand it. We keep playing hard and can play through anything.”
In their season opener, Rutgers let a 14-point advantage against Cal slip to two before holding on.
On Wednesday night, the Scarlet Knights (2-0) led by 19 in the second half before Boston College cut its deficit to five with 8:33 left in the game. Rushdan answered with a 3-pointer to ignite a 12-2 run that put it away.
“I thought they fought, we didn’t change anything we were running, dug a little bit deeper,” Boston College coach Sylvia Crawley said. “We were right in the game. I was proud how they made that run. They hit one 3 and it deflated our team. Our best run wasn’t good enough. We can’t back down and need to keep pushing all the time. We’ll get better with experience.”
Unlike the first game, the Scarlet Knights got off to a quick start. Rutgers jumped out to a 13-2 lead, a run capped by a 3-pointer from Erica Wheeler. Kristen Doherty hit the Eagles’ (1-1) first basket a minute later.
Rutgers extended its lead to 20-6 midway through the first half as Boston College missed 12 of its first 13 shots. Tiffany Ruffin scored five points during a 7-0 run that pulled the Eagles to 20-13. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer had five freshmen on the floor for most of the run.
After a timeout, the Hall of Fame coach put her upperclassmen back in and the Scarlet Knights went on a 16-2 spurt over the next 4 minutes to regain control.
“I think I got to do a better job of the substitutions than the way I’m doing it,” Stringer said. “It’s not fair because it may not be the right chemistry.”
Rutgers’ talented freshmen class continues to impress early in the season. Betnijah Laney, Briyona Canty and Syessence Davis all fueled the late run in the first half. They scored 10 straight points, including back-to-back layups by Canty. The group has provided energy, enthusiasm and, most importantly, depth. Laney followed her 18-point debut with nine on Wednesday night.
“It’s very exciting,” said Rutgers senior April Sykes. “It’s great and fun and you can get a sub now. You can play for four good minutes and come back and do it again.”
Zenevitch finished with a career-high 15 points, while Tessa Holt added 12 for Boston College, which beat Fairleigh Dickinson in its opener.
“I got on Katie at halftime,” Crawley said. “She’s hard on herself, too. She had four turnovers and two rebounds at half, I challenged her in the rebounding area. She asserted herself more. I was happy with how she responded from the first half.”
This was the 23rd meeting between the teams, with Rutgers winning 14 of those contests. Boston College won last season’s meeting, which was the first since 2004.