Late comeback attempt falls short in Mass. for Rutgers
Playing for the first time without junior forward Betnijah Laney, who left Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle, the Rutgers women’s basketball team ended its three-game winning streak to begin the year.
Massachusetts snapped it in last night’s 64-63 Scarlet Knights loss in Amherst, Mass.
Sophomore forward Rachel Hollivay returned from a concussion sustained Nov. 13 and led with 14 points, five rebounds and an assist against UMass. Three other Scarlet Knights finished in double figures.
But Rutgers missed Laney on the boards in the loss. The Minutewomen outrebounded the Knights, 36-33, to help propel the win.
After leading most of the first half, Rutgers (3-1) allowed Massachusetts (1-3) to go on a significant run through most of the second half.
But down 62-49 with six minutes left, the Knights went on a 14-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to one with seven seconds remaining.
Rutgers fouled Massachusetts with three seconds left. Hollivay rebounded the missed front end of a 1-and-1, but the Knights could not get a shot off as time expired.
With less than three minutes left, freshman point guard Tyler Scaife scored 4 straight points to bring the Knights within 5. Sophomore guard Kahleah Copper sunk one of two free throws to make it only a 64-60 UMass lead with about 80 seconds left.
But it was all too late.
The Minutewomen went on a 16-8 run in the middle of the period to make it 60-49.
Before that, sophomore guard Briyona Canty hit back-to-back 3-pointers with less than 14:36 left to cut the lead to 44-41. That was as close as Rutgers got until the game’s end.
Massachusetts opened up an 8-point lead with hot shooting to start the second half after Rutgers led most of the first half.
Sloppy play littered most of that portion, as both teams committed 10 turnovers and shot 37 percent from the field.
By night’s end, Massachusetts leveled its shooting out to 47 percent, while the Knights only managed to bump theirs to 43 percent.
Rutgers also struggled again from the charity stripe, converting 7-of-12 attempts.
Massachusetts went on a 13-5 run to close the first period.
Wing Rashida Timbilla sparked the rally. She flirted all night with a triple-double, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Eleven of her points came in the first half, when the Minutewomen shifted momentum.
The Knights failed to score during the final two minutes of the half, committing a foul while missing one shot and two free throws.
Scaife led Rutgers with 9 points, two assists and two rebounds in the period.
Sophomore guard Precious Person started off hot with 8 first-half points, but was sidelined with foul trouble most of the second half.
Rutgers faces a quick turnaround tomorrow at the Louis Brown Athletic Center against Howard.
For updates on the Rutgers women’s basketball team, follow Greg Johnson on Twitter @GregJohnsonRU. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.