PITTSBURGH (AP)—With a slew of tough Big East games coming up over the next month, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer knows her team will have to play better on the offensive end.
Khadijah Rushdan scored 14 points and April Sykes added 11 to lead the eighth-ranked Scarlet Knights to a 63-39 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.
“I probably wasn’t the happiest person with us,” Stringer said. “We measure all that by what we expect each day in practice and more often than not, it’s not who we’re competing against so much as what we know
we’re going to have to compete against.”
Stringer’s team dominated inside scoring 40 points and holding Pitt (8-9, 0-4) to just 12 in the paint.
“I was much more concerned (tonight) with the ability to offensively execute, and we didn’t do that,” Stringer said. “In our attempt to make passes to the inside, we turned it over some. But we’ll get better.”
Against the Panthers, who lost their third straight game Tuesday, Rutgers was nearly impenetrable in the low post. Pitt made its first layup with 3:43 left in the first on a Keisel drive. The Panthers previous season low in the paint was 16 points against Duke and Hampton. Rutgers, who went on an 11-2 run to pull away early in the first, went into halftime up 37-24.
“I think we were helping one another and making sure we were stopping drives,” said Monique Oliver, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights. “We made sure we fronted in the post so they won’t get the layups.”
Asia Logan led Pitt with 10 points while Abby Dowd and Brianna Kiesel each had nine.
What frustrated Pitt coach Agnus Berenato was the slew of missed layups, 16 by her count. She thought the Panthers’ game plan was good, but no game plan can survive that many errant shots.
“We have to make those shots,” she said. “I guess we’re not being game-like enough in practice. We’ve got to go ahead and turn up the heat. I don’t know. Tonight I’ll go home and be innovative and come up
with something. We’ll find a different way to shoot layups I guess.”
Pitt had 21 turnovers and the youngest team in Division I women’s basketball had its second-lowest offensive output of the season. The Panthers scored 37 points in a November loss to Hampton.