Scaife struggles as Penn State beats Rutgers 70-67 in Happy Valley
Following an exciting overtime win at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) against Minnesota in its previous game, the Rutgers women’s basketball team traveled to Happy Valley on Thursday for its second matchup of the season against Penn State.
In the first battle, the Scarlet Knights came away with a hard-fought 70-65 win at home back on Jan. 6. In that game, senior guard Tyler Scaife dropped 29 points for Rutgers, shooting 11-of-22 from the field in her most impressive game of the season.
But this game was a different story. The Lady Lions (12-8, 3-4) held Scaife to only 10 points after struggling from the field, shooting 4-of-14 on the night. No. 25 Rutgers (17-4, 5-2) was led by junior guard Khadaizha Sanders, who dropped 14 points paired with five assists. Junior forward Stasha Carey recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For Penn State, Teniya Page -- who had a team-high 24 points in the first meeting -- had an even more impressive 34 points. Page was on fire, shooting a red-hot 12-of-19 from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line.
The Knights also lost the turnover battle, committing 19 turnovers, but only forced 18. Heading into the game, Rutgers was 17-3 and ranked 25th nationally, while the Lions were 11-8, with a 2-4 Big Ten conference record.
The Knights shot an impressive 48 percent from the field in this game, better than Penn State who had a 40-percent clip. The difference in this game came down to the rebounding battle, which the Lions won 34 to 30. Those few rebounds were ever important in a game that was decided by only one basket.
Rutgers was down 9 points headed into the fourth quarter, and narrowed the gap to only 3 by the end of the game by outscoring Penn State 24-18 in the fourth quarter of play. But, the Lions outscored the Knights in all three previous quarters.
This was a tough road loss for Rutgers, who will now probably fall out of the top-25 rankings. Despite the loss, this team is currently one of the best turnaround stories in women's Division I basketball this season.
After going 6-24 last season, the Knights, led by head coach C. Vivian Stringer, are 17-4 on the year, and six wins shy of coach Stringer’s 1,000th career coaching victory. This team is also a stellar 12-0 at the RAC so far this season.
Rutgers will look to bounce back at home against Nebraska on Sunday. The Cornhuskers are 13-6 overall this season and 4-2 within the Big Ten. They are also 6-0 in road games, which will pit their undefeated record on the line this Sunday in Piscataway, against the the Knights’ home-win streak.
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