Rutgers suffers blowout loss to Duke on night it retired number of former standout player
It got off to an ugly start and didn’t get much better for the Rutgers women’s basketball team as it was blown out by Duke 68-32 at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
The Blue Devils (8-1) raced out to a 13-0 lead, as they whipped the ball around and found open shots. Aliyah Jeune finally responded for the Scarlet Knights (1-6), but Duke came right back up the floor and hit a 3-pointer. Duke started off blistering from behind the arc, hitting 4 of its first 6 shots from deep.
Rutgers really struggled to shoot the ball early on, and most of its attempts were not close. There were multiple airballs and shots that hit the backboard and no rim. Duke stretched its lead to 28 points in the first half, when Lynee Belton hit a free throw to make it 35-7. The Knights eventually found themselves facing a 39-13 halftime deficit.
Duke then went on yet another run, this one being an 11-0 one to start the second half. They pushed their lead to 37 points, but the Blue Devils didn’t take their feet off the gas, as they continued to play tight defense and drive for open looks on offense. In fact, their biggest lead of the game came with 4:17 remaining in the game when they went up 64-26. They cruised to victory and improved their record to 8-1 on the season.
Duke received a balanced effort from its players, as Rebecca Greenwell was the only player in double digits with 11 points and every single player that got in the game grabbed a rebound.
Duke was simply far and away the better team and the Blue Devils showed it. They made difficult shots in transition, played great defense and shot the ball well from behind the arc. These are all keys to success, and the Knights were struggling in all facets of the game.
“We’ve gotta be a very good defensive team and we’ve gotta find ways to score points,” said head coach C. Vivian Stringer.
Scoring-wise, sophomore guard Jeune led the Scarlet Knights with 8 points while junior guard Shrita Parker added 7 of her own.
Parker has plenty of pride and took the loss to heart. Stringer, a Hall of Fame coach, expects a lot out of her players, and you can see that they were disappointed in their performance.
“We honestly beat ourselves. They got rebounds, they out-hustled us,” Parker said. “It starts with pride and we have to compete. If we want it as bad, we’ll be fine. But right now, we’re just trying to find ourselves. We don’t know what it’s like to win right now.”
Despite the result on the court, it was a big night at the RAC as Rutgers legend Cappie Pondexter had her number 25 jersey retired and raised into the rafters. It really seemed as if the night was about her. The recognition also extended beyond the Rutgers program, as Duke head coach Joanne McCallie had high praises for her.
“What a well-deserved honor,” she said. “Cappie was one of those incredible players. She was a programmatic player. She was beyond an All-American”.
Pondexter also holds a special place in Stringer’s heart, as she was one of the best players in Rutgers Athletics' history and helped bring the Knights to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments. Any time Stringer talks about Pondexter, you can tell how much she meant to the 22-year head coach.
“I have been waiting for this moment and it’s finally come here,” Stringer said. “I don’t know who could not have appreciated the great player that she was. I have a feeling there are a lot more accolades she’s going to get."
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