Head coach C. Vivian Stringer picked up her 900th career victory as the Rutgers women’s basketball team downed South Florida, 68-56, at the RAC, Tuesday. Stringer became just the seventh Division I NCAA basketball coach – men’s or women’s – and the fourth women’s basketball coach to reach that plateau. Stringer is currently second among active coaches behind UNC’s Sylvia Hatchell, who has 904 career wins.
The Scarlet Knights snap a four-game losing streak and improved to 15-12 overall and 6-8 in BIG EAST play. The Bulls fell to 19-8 and 8-6 in conference contests, ending a three-game win streak.
Rutgers was led by a pair of 20-point scorers with senior Erica Wheeler (Miami, Fla.) capturing a season-high 24 points and sophomore Betnijah Laney (Clatyon, Del.) pouring in 20 points. Laney was just shy of a double-double performance as she hauled in a game-high nine rebounds.
USF was led by Courtney Williams with 15 points off the bench. Andrea Smith, the BIG EAST’s second leading scorer notched 11 in the loss.
The first half was back-and-forth, with RU leading by three, 27-24, with 3:51 remaining. The Scarlet Knights then went on an 8-0 run to close the period, including a three-point buzzer-beater by sophomore guard Syessence Davis (Neptune, N.J.) as time expired to take a 35-24 lead into the locker room.
RU led by as many as 16 in the second half at the 12:16 mark as Wheeler drained one of her six three-pointers on the evening to give the Scarlet Knights a 51-35 edge. The Bulls chipped away and moved to within eight, 57-49, with 5:14 to play, however USF was limited to just one field goal the rest of the game
The Scarlet Knights shot a blistering 51.0 percent (25-of-49) from the floor in their best shooting game since their Jan. 30 victory at Marquette seven games ago.
The Scarlet Knights continue play on the road, taking on BIG EAST foe Cincinnati on Saturday, March 2 at 5 p.m. It will be RU’s final regular season road game of the year.
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