Rushdan returns to action after separating shoulder early
The Rutgers women's basketball team held its breath for a long minute while Khadijah Rushdan lay on the floor in agony.
In the 60-39 victory over Providence Saturday, Rushdan crashed down hard on the floor after taking a steal coast-to-coast and dishing the ball off to teammate Erica Wheeler, dislocating her right shoulder.
The training staff popped Rushdan's shoulder back in while she was down on the court and the Scarlet Knights' leading scorer had to leave the game.
"We're always a heartbeat away from our season being done," said head coach C. Vivian Stringer in reaction to Rushdan's injury.
Though she returned two minutes later and finished with nine points, six assists, five boards and two steals, it appeared for an instant that Rutgers would have to go into its heavyweight clash with Connecticut without its star player.
"Obviously when anybody goes down it's a little worrisome but my adrenaline was going and I wasn't going to let it slow me down," Rushdan said. "I definitely think we picked it up. We started pressing a lot more and I think it gave us a lot of easy baskets."
To help address the depth issue with junior guard Nikki Speed's absence, Stringer added walk-on Jaymee Tucker to the roster.
Tucker, a 5-foot-10 guard from North Brunswick, logged her first action with the Scarlet Knights when she and fellow walk-on Brittany Lapidus came in for the final minute of the victory.
By taking down Providence, the Knights remain one of three teams still undefeated in the Big East. Alongside DePaul, which is 6-0 in the conference, Rutgers and Connecticut are the only other teams without a conference blemish.
Before Connecticut arrives in Piscataway, Rutgers expects to put in serious work in practice, particularly in the free throw department where the team shot just 69 percent Saturday and has a 71 percent clip on the season.
"Definitely free throws and making sure we're all on the same page," Rushdan said on what needs to be done. "There were a lot of instances out there where we really didn't know what [plays] we were into. I'll take responsibility for that, being a point guard."