Rutgers shakes road woes against Penn State in Happy Valley
The Rutgers women’s basketball team was finally able to get on the right track on the road Sunday as it defeated Penn State, 74-62, in Happy Valley.
The Scarlet Knights (14-10, 5-7) played efficient basketball from the outset, controlling the pace of play and beating the Lady Lions (8-15, 3-9) at the Bryce Johnson Center.
Assistant coach Tim Eatman filled in for the second time this week for head coach C. Vivian Stringer, who is on bereavement leave after losing her mother Wednesday.
The Knights snapped their eight-game road losing streak, getting a much-needed victory to try to get back on track in Big Ten play. It was their first road win in conference play this season.
Senior wing Kahleah Copper led the Knights with 20 points and grabbed six rebounds.
She continued her strong play this week, after she recorded 31 points and nine rebounds in the team’s 85-71 loss to Minnesota on Thursday.
In total, five players from Rutgers' side scored in double figures, the first time it has happened since its victory over Wisconsin in January of 2015.
Junior guard Tyler Scaife recorded 15 points, senior center Rachel Hollivay had 13 points and guards Briyona Canty and Khadaizha Sanders each added 11.
On the other side, Teniya Paige led the Lady Lions with 18 points.
Canty nearly recorded a triple-double, finishing with a team-high eight rebounds and nine assists along with her 11 points.
As a team, the Knights totaled 16 assists and moved the ball around much better than in some recent games.
Rutgers got off to a hot start, holding as much as a 14 point advantage. It led the Lady Lions 19-11 after the first quarter.
The Knights were shooting at good clip from the field, going 15-for-30 in the first half to stake themselves to a 36-26 lead.
As they have mentioned throughout the season as a point of emphasis, the Knights were looking to improve their three-point shooting and made four of their seven attempts in the first 20 minutes, and finished 5-for-10 in that department for the game.
Sanders knocked down three of her four attempts from beyond the arc, including one that sparked the team’s scoring to begin the second half. She tied her career-high with 11 points.
Rutgers wasted little time getting back to scoring to start the second half, going on a 6-2 run to start the third quarter before Penn State called a timeout.
The Knights would continue their efficient shooting, finishing the game by making 30 of their 57 shots from the field.
Hollivay, the school’s new all-time blocked shots leader after passing Sue Wicks with her 295th career block last game, added four more blocks in this game while protecting the rim, pushing her career total to 299. Along with scoring in double figures, she also pulled down seven rebounds.
Rutgers outscored Penn State in the first three quarters, thoroughly pacing the play in its favor in a game in which it received strong performances on both ends of the floor.
The Knights especially stifled Penn State on the defensive end, holding the Lady Lions to 21-for-58 shooting from the field in the contest.
It was the fourth-straight win for the Knights over the Lady Lions, improving their all-time record to 23-18 against their conference foe.
Rutgers now looks to continue its winning ways as it returns home Wednesday night to play Northwestern (14-9, 3-8) at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
They will hope to continue their solid all-around team play, as they have been hoping to see more players score in double figures and the Knights got just that against Penn State.
The Knights are 9-2 at home on the season, while the Wildcats are just 3-5 on the road, as both teams will look to move up the Big Ten standings.
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