August 20, 2018 | ° F

Rough night compounded by shooting woes

Poor shooting was contagious last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.

It was not just the Florida Gators that could not hit their shots in the Rutgers women's basketball team's 51-38 victory.

The Scarlet Knights shot 35.3 percent from the floor in the game, but sophomores Nikki Speed and April Sykes and senior Myia McCurdy combined for a 1-for-14 shooting clip in the first half and finished a united 4-of-22.

After missing her first six shots, Sykes finally connected after grabbing her own rebound. She finished with two baskets on 11 attempts but had a career-high nine rebounds.

"Once she gets her confidence back she's going to be a great shooter," said senior guard Brittany Ray. "She's going to help us a lot."

The roughest night on either team, however, came in the form of Gator guard Jordan Jones.

Jones, who has nearly twice as many points per game than anyone else on the team, shot an abysmal 3-of-19 from the floor and 1-for-14 from long range.

"The defense was solid and I think that everybody was accountable," said head coach C. Vivian Stringer. "We played more inspired than we did against Temple and Princeton."

Yesterday's win against the Gators marked the fourth straight season the Knights took part in the Jimmy V Classic.

The classic takes place annually to honor former RU player and Hall of Fame coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.

"I'd like to believe that our efforts should reflect the attitude of all families that suffer with some form of cancer and to be grateful," Stringer said. "Since this was the event, I wanted to talk to [the team] about it and also to tell them who Jim Valvano was. I thought that our team approached it in a very good way."

RU athletic director Tim Pernetti presented a check to the foundation at halftime in support of the Kay Yow Fund.

After an injury to her left knee Saturday in the 60-50 win over Princeton, freshman forward Monique Oliver did not participate in the game.

She warmed up with the team before the game while wearing a knee brace.

"I don't know," Stringer said on how Oliver's knee is doing. "At least the ACL is not torn."

Stringer's starting lineup of Speed, McCurdy, sophomores Khadijah Rushdan and Chelsey Lee and Ray became the seventh different starting rotation for the Knights through the first 10 games of the season.

Needing just one block for 100 on her career, senior center Rashidat Junaid played just seven minutes but finally got the block with 1:38 left to go in the game.

Speed took two charges in the game, making her the team leader with five through the first 10 games.

The last time RU played Florida, it marked the first win of the 2006-07 season and an eventual run to the NCAA Tournament championship game after starting the season 0-2.


Sam Hellman

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