June 25, 2018 | ° F

Knights can win fourth consecutive

Photo by Tian Li |

Sophomore guard Kahleah Copper leads the Knights with 18 PPG this season.

The Rutgers women’s basketball team looks to continue its undefeated season tonight in Amherst, Mass., while Massachusetts (0-3) looks for its first win.

The Scarlet Knights (3-0) needed a last-second bucket Sunday to beat LaSalle, 59-57.

Junior point guard Syessence Davis drove the lane, drawing two defenders to her. She found junior forward Christa Evans open for a backdoor layup.  

They were Evans’ first points of the season.

Photo: Tian Li

Sophomore forward Rachel Hollivay is questionable to play against Massachusetts with a concussion sustained Nov. 13.

“I was trying to create a foul, but I was looking for the easiest thing, and the easiest thing was to hit Christa,” Davis said. “She was wide open.”

Thirty seconds before, sophomore guard Precious Person tied the game with a free throw.

Sophomore guard Kahleah Copper led the team in scoring each of the past three games, earning AAC Weekly Honors. She scored 12 against the Explorers before fouling out.

Copper now averages 18.0 points per game and 6.7 rebounds.

“Scoring a lot lately in the last couple games is only because of my teammates getting me the ball,” she said. “The team chemistry has gotten a lot better this year and everyone is sharing the ball, willing to make the extra pass, and I’m always there to get the pass and finish.”

The LaSalle game was the closest during the Knights’ three-game win streak after beating their first two opponents, Princeton and Northeastern, by 14 points each.

Rutgers now faces injury question marks. Sophomore forwards Rachel Hollivay and Ariel Butts were both out Sunday.

Hollivay suffered a concussion against Northeastern, playing only 13 minutes.

“You know how concussions are, you just don’t know,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer on Sunday of Hollivay’s availability today. “Today was the first time we’ve seen her since we played [against Northeastern]. Obviously her eyes were able to handle the light a bit, but we are, like everyone, very cautious about those injuries.”

Stringer said Butts practiced last week but would not set a timetable for her return.

Five minutes into the second half, trainers helped junior forward Betnijah Laney off the court with a right foot injury following a hard fall.

Laney led the Knights in rebounds with double-doubles in the first two games.

“She’s sprained that ankle before,” Stringer said. “It’s not as simple as it may seem. There’s swelling on top of her foot and the high part of her ankle, so we’ll do as much as we can to tighten it up and compress.”

The Knights held a poor 2-11 record away from the Louis Brown Athletic Center last season, while winning 13 of 15 at home.

Two of the Minutewomen’s three losses came at home this season.

They lost, 66-58, against Western Michigan in their opener, followed by a 105-61 beat down from Central Michigan.

UMass shot 27.7 percent from the field against Central Michigan and made only one of 20 shots from behind the arc. Guard Jasmine Harris shot 1-for-11 and did not sink a 3-pointer in seven attempts.

The Minutewomen most recently fell Sunday to American, 82-59.

Guard Emily Mital led the team with 17 points off 5-of-6 shooting. Harris missed her only two shots but added 5 points from the free-throw line.

The Minutewomen had trouble holding on to the ball in the first half, resulting in 19 turnovers, which American turned into 26 points. They ended the game with 23 turnovers.

Similarly, Rutgers had a season-high 24 turnovers against LaSalle’s zone defense.

“Generally, when you’re playing against zones, it’s going to be a low scoring game,” Stringer said. “If you rush it, you’re going to have turnovers big time and it requires all five people on the same wavelength.”

For updates on the Rutgers women’s basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

By Justin Lesko

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