Feb. 18, 2012
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The No. 18 Rutgers Scarlet Knights traveled to Villanova on Saturday, Feb. 18, where they registered a 61-52 win. With the victory, the Scarlet Knights improve to 18-8 overall and 7-6 in Big East play, while the Wildcats fall to 15-12 overall and 5-9 in conference play.
Led by junior forward Laura Sweeney, Villanova raced to a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest. Sweeney netted four of her team's first seven points. Sweeney would finish the first half with 12 points.
Villanova held an 11-6 lead when Rutgers used an 8-2 run to take its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 7:28 left in the first half. Wildcat sophomore guard Devon Kane buried a three-ball on the game's next possession to help Villanova re-take the lead at 16-14.
With the score tied at 18-18, Rutgers went on a 10-2 run to take a 28-20 advantage at the 2:34 mark. Back-to-back triples by Erica Wheeler and April Sykes led the Scarlet Knight charge. Rutgers would use the run to propel them to a 30-25 halftime advantage.
The Scarlet Knights outscored the Wildcats by an 11-4 margin to start the second half. The spurt gave Rutgers a 41-29 lead with 14:10 to play. Senior Khadijah Rushdan scored the first six points of the half to lead the way for the Knights.
Trailing 50-40 with 6:03 remaining, Villanova got two free throws by junior Megan Pearson and a three-point field goal by junior Emily Suhey to cut the Rutgers lead to 50-45. Rutgers answered and put the game away with six consecutive points to take a 56-45 lead with 3:42 left on the clock.
Sweeney led Villanova in the loss with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and a 7-of-9 effort from the foul line. She also added six rebounds and six steals. Junior guard Rachel Roberts added nine points.
Rutgers had three players in double figures highlighted by April Sykes with a game-high 20 points. Wheeler finished with 16 points, while Rushdan added 13 points.
For the game, Villanova shot 35.3 percent from the field (18-of-51), 19.4 percent from three-point range (6-of-31) and 83.3 percent from the foul line (10-of-12), while Rutgers was 22-of-48 from the floor (45.8%), 3-of-8 from long distance (37.5%) and 14-of-19 from the charity stripe (73.7%), The Scarlet Knights owned a 33-28 advantage on the backboards.
Villanova returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 25, with a road game at St. John's. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.
NOTES: Laura Sweeney has now scored double figures in 21 of the 27 games this year...Sweeney moved into 18th place on Villanova's all-time scoring list with 1,064 points...Rutgers has defeated the Wildcats 10 straight times...Villanova will close out the home portion of the regular season on Monday, Feb. 27 versus Syracuse.