No. 11 Rutgers women storm past TempleBy DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011
She scored a season-high 19 points to help the No. 11 Scarlet Knights beat the Owls 71-50 on Wednesday night.
“It was personal for me being a senior,” Sykes said. “We’ve lost to Temple too many times. Let’s not let them think they are in the game with us.”
Khadijah Rushdan added 16 points while Monique Oliver had 15 for the Scarlet Knights (7-0), who are off to their best start in six years.
They began the 2005-06 season 8-0—the only other time they have won their first seven games under coach C. Vivian Stringer. Rutgers won the San Juan Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend beating Georgia Tech and Arizona State.
Rutgers will face a stiff test this weekend when it visits Florida on Friday before playing at No. 9 Miami on Monday.
“We look forward to the experience and challenge,” Sykes said. “Miami and Florida are two great teams and they will be a great road test for us.”
Shey Peddy scored 16 to lead Temple (2-5), which has lost five straight, including three against ranked opponents.
“They were hungry” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. “I know they wanted this win. The last few years we got them, and they felt like they should have won the game. Every shot they got they hit.”
Rutgers led by 12 midway through the first half before Temple pulled to 23-17. The Scarlet Knights then went on a 14-2 run over the next 5 minutes to take control. Rushdan and Erica Wheeler each had five points during the spurt, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers that made it 35-19.
The Scarlet Knights finished the half shooting 66 percent (19 for 29) from the field and led 46-30. They had 14 assists on their 19 baskets in the first half.
“It’s crucial we get off to a good start every time we play,” Stringer said. “We know what it feels like to play at this high energy, press, trap and run. We moved the ball.”
Temple closed to 53-41 in the second half, but Rushdan converted a three-point play and Betnijah Laney followed with a basket to restore the 17-point lead with 9:25 left and end any chance of a Temple comeback. The Owls could only get within 15 the rest of the way.
Rutgers shot 55 percent from the field for the game.
Temple, which finished off a rough November, hasn’t played at home since opening the season with a win over Miami, Ohio. The Owls got swept in the Bahamas over the holidays, losing to then-No. 5 Texas A&M and St. John’s.
“It’s just how it ended up,” said Cardoza of the quirky schedule. “That’s not an excuse. We had some opportunities to win some games on the road and we didn’t take advantage of finishing them on the end. When we did force them into a bad shot or when we had opportunities we didn’t capitalize.”