July 20, 2018 | ° F

Offense improves after recent struggles

Photo by Jovelle Tamayo |

Sophomore wing Betnijah Laney attempts a shot during the Knights’ Dec. 9 win against Louisiana Tech.

Two teams with identical records prepare for a battle on the hardwood tonight in front of a national audience. The Rutgers women’s basketball team takes on Georgetown at home, a nationally televised game tipping off at 7 p.m.

The Scarlet Knights (10-7, 1-3) look to build on momentum as they welcome the Hoyas (10-7, 2-2). But they have a daunting task of figuring out a way to contain Georgetown senior guard Sugar Rogers, the nation’s leading scorer who averages 24.6 points per game.

After picking up their first Big East victory Wednesday against Providence, the Knights hope they can put together a complete game and earn another home win.

Sophomore wing Betnijah Laney, who scored a career-best 24 points, led an offensive clinic against the Friars.

“It’s not like I have in my head that I’m trying to go out and get 20 points,” Laney said in a statement. “I just go out to improve each game.”

Senior forward Monique Oliver shot 4-for-4 from the field before halftime, scoring 10 of her 16 points in that span, and the Knights scored a season-high 87 points.

Head coach C. Vivian Stringer watched as the squad tallied its most points in a conference game since 2007. The Knights shot 61.5 percent from the floor and scored 30 points off turnovers.

“I’ve never seen 87 points. That would have been nice to get 90 just once,” Stringer said in a statement. “I was shocked we got 87. It was really nice to see those kind of points. It’s about where they came from, because 22 of those points came from the free throw line. Others came from breaks and stealing the ball, so that was good.”

Rutgers dictated the pace and separated itself early on in the contest. The Knights were aggressive and the offense flowed from the opening tip. It did not take long for them to take advantage of their size down low.

Rutgers’ frontcourt contributed to the team’s 54 points in the paint, 14 of which came from freshman wing Kahleah Copper.

Inside presence in the paint is crucial for Rutgers, who must prepare to disrupt junior forward Andrea White’s rhythm.

White is second in scoring behind Rogers with 11.3 points per game. She is also active around the glass, helping the Hoyas with 6.1 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, fifth-year senior Chelsey Lee leads the Knights with 4.9 boards per game.

In a matchup that will test physicality, Rutgers is also concerned about protecting its home floor, where it is 8-1 this season.

“[The win] has given us much more confidence,” Oliver said in a statement. “We’re ready to get into these next few games, like Georgetown, with a lot more confidence.”

By Aaron Farrar

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