Knights defeat FDU at RAC with ease Sunday
There are some games that call into question whether there should be a mercy rule in college basketball. The Rutgers women’s basketball team’s game against Fairleigh Dickinson was one of those games.
The Scarlet Knights (10-2) enjoyed a game in which they dominated from the start on both ends of the floor and never relented, beating FDU (7-3) 101-35. The 66-point margin of victory was the highest since they beat Duquesne by 75 in 1988, and was the second time in the last four years that they scored 100 or more points, joining their 100-44 win against Davidson in 2014.
Head coach C. Vivian Stringer lauded her team’s effort, saying that the game was more important to win than one against South Carolina, since the team put an easy opponent away early without letting up.
“Most teams get a big lead and become lackadaisical, and we as coaches get headaches (because of) this,” she said. “But (today) they were intense, they weren’t playing around, they weren’t trying to make fun of anybody. They were just playing the game and looking for each other, and that’s what’s important. I’m really happy and proud.”
Rutgers got off to a quick start, scoring the first 8 points of the game and 15 of the first 20. It forced eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes, which led to 12 points on the other ends.
The Knights kept the defensive pressure on in the second quarter, forcing more turnovers and scoring more points. They outscored FDU 21-5 and ended the half with a 51-20 lead. The 51 points were the most that the team scored in the first half so far this season.
Rutgers continued to control the game in the third quarter, outscoring FDU 29-10, and had a 50-point lead heading into the fourth. It pushed the lead to over 60 in the fourth quarter, and when junior forward Caitlin Jenkins drove to the basket and scored a layup with 41 seconds left, the team had more than 100 points for just the third time in Stringer’s 22-year tenure at the University.
Four players finished the game with 10 or more points for the Knights. Fifth-year senior Tyler Scaife was the leading scorer for the 10th time this season, as her 25 points marked the seventh time she scored at least 20 points. Sophomore guard Ciani Cryor, senior guard Jazlynd Rollins and Jenkins all scored in double digits for Rutgers.
Rollins spoke about how she played the game without the pressure of losing.
“(The game) was fun because you see everybody playing the game and moving the ball and making a nice pass and getting steals,” Rollins said. “It’s always fun to play a great game with your teammates.”
The Knights finished the game with 23 steals and 30 forced turnovers, both of which were season highs. Almost half of their points (47) came off of turnovers. On the other end, Rutgers turned the ball over nine times, which was the second-lowest total this season, while dishing out a season-high 25 assists.
“We were all on high alert and were communicating with each other,” Cryor said.
The blowout allowed many bench players to contribute significant minutes, as all but one player had at least 10 minutes of play. Eleven players had at least one rebound or assist, and 13 players had at least one steal.
While Stringer has usually played all of her players in a game regardless of the score, this was a significant game because it allowed many players to be on the court for longer than usual.
“I’m grateful that we were able to do that, feeling comfortable and confident in the people going in that they would maintain the level of intensity,” Stringer said.
The Knights return to the floor on Wednesday, when they host Princeton for the sixth straight game at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
At the end of the day, it was Stringer who had the perfect summary of Rutgers’ win.
“It sure beats a nailbiter, right?” she said.
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