Knights take advantage of free throw opportunities
The Rutgers women's basketball team got to the free throw line early and often in a 70-53 upset over No. 11 Georgetown last night, setting a new season-high with 30 makes and 43 attempts from the line.
The Scarlet Knights were already in the penalty with 15 minutes to go in the second half and free throws proved to be the harbinger in a 24-10 run to kick off the second period of play. On the run, Rutgers went to the charity stripe seven separate times.
"When it comes down to the later season, we're going to have to make free throws," said junior guard Khadijah Rushdan, who was 10 of 15 from the line. "I'm definitely proud that we stayed aggressive and we got to the line 43 times. I don't even know if there's a time since I've been here that we've done that."
But the foul game went both ways in the matchup, with the Knights committing more than their fair share of fouls on the Hoyas.
Between the two teams, there were a total of 45 fouls and 61 free throw attempts.
"When you have two aggressive teams … you're always going to have those types of fouls, those types of runs and transition points and just trying to get up and down the court," Rushdan said.
Junior forward April Sykes followed up her torrid four-game scoring run with another strong second-half performance against Georgetown.
The Starkville, Miss., native was just 2-of-9 from the floor in the first half but caught fire during a second-half run by Rutgers and finished the game with 17 points, shooting 6-for-14 from the floor.
"At halftime, we talked with each other and said we need to be relaxed … and I think it's great that we came out and played well in the second half," Sykes said. "We're usually a better first-half team, and we flipped it up today."
Prior to the win over the Hoyas, Sykes averaged 16.8 points in her past four games with a 64 percent shooting clip.
Sykes reached double-digits in points for the seventh time in her past eight games.
Former Knight and WNBA center Kia Vaughn was in attendance at last night's game. Vaughn was a three-year starter for Rutgers and was the dominant post player responsible for getting the team to the NCAA Championship game in 2006, the Elite Eight in 2007 and the Sweet 16 in 2008.
Vaughn averages 10 minutes per game for the Liberty through her first two seasons, playing alongside fellow former Knights Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson.
The next stop for the Knights is in Chestnut Hill, Mass., Sunday where they take on Boston College, which stands at 9-0 and ranks No. 25 in the coaches' poll.
The Eagles have a size advantage over most teams, with starting center Carolyn Swords averaging 18.2 points per game and forward Stefanie Murphy averaging 16.8.