Rutgers improves foul shooting against Howard
The Rutgers women’s basketball team had extra incentive to increase their percentage Friday night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
“[Head] coach [C. Vivian Stringer] told us if we don’t shoot over 80 percent, we were going to run 55s [double suicides],” said sophomore guard Kahleah Copper. “So we made it important that we made free throws.”
The Scarlet Knights team shot a season-high .750 free throw percentage in their 69-38 victory against Howard (2-3), converting 15 of 20 attempts.
The Knights (4-1) before averaged near 60 percent from the charity stripe a game this season, with a previous season high of 65.4 percent in the opener against Princeton.
Through five games, their season low is 57.1 percent against Northeastern.
Copper was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
While Rutgers did not eclipse the 80 percent mark, head coach C. Vivian Stringer agreed the team would round the 75 percent up to prevent the suicides.
The Knights’ 33 rebounds in the first half against the Bison tied their game total in the team’s loss to UMass on Wednesday, as well as their opener against Princeton.
They ended the game with 57 rebounds, eclipsing their previous high of 44 against Northeastern.
Rutgers’ noticeable height advantage against Howard might be responsible for that.
The Bisons’ two tallest players are listed as 6-foot-1while the Knights have five players who are at least that height.
“When I noticed I had a big height advantage, I just went out there and did what I had to do,” said 6-foot-4 sophomore forward Rachel Hollivay.
Hollivay and Copper led the team with 13 rebounds each.
Hollivay also used the advantage to swat away nine Bisons shots.
Guard Te’Shya Heslip, listed at 5-foot-5, led Howard’s offense, shooting 5-for-20. Heslop had a team-high 11 points and five steals but also turned the ball over 10 times.
Rutgers had to respond to its first loss of the season just two days after Massachusetts outscored it, 64-63, in Amherst, Mass.
“I think that was our challenge to see how well we could recover because, you know, so much of this is mental as well as the physical side,” Stringer said. “We should have done better where we were [at UMass], but we can just hang our heads and feel sorry about it all the time or we can play.”
Stringer was impressed by the 32-point victory.
“It wasn’t important about winning, it was how we win,” Stringer said.
Highly touted freshman Tyler Scaife earned her first start of the season against Howard.
The top point guard in the class of 2013, according to ESPN HoopGurlz, Scaife played all but four minutes of the first half, shooting 3-for-10 with a rebound.
Her playing time dropped to only nine minutes in the second half and she only shot the ball twice, making one basket.
Junior forward Christa Evans did not start the game after starting the previous two. She scored the game winner the last time Rutgers played at the RAC, Nov. 17 against La Salle.