March 1, 2005
By DAN GELSTON
AP Sports Writer
VILLANOVA, Pa. -Matee Ajavon scored 14 points and Michelle Campbell added 13, helping No. 9 Rutgers win its first Big East Conference regular-season title outright with a 51-39 win over Villanova on Tuesday night.
The Scarlet Knights (23-5, 14-2) shared the 1998-99 crown with Connecticut, which has won or shared 11 straight regular-season titles.
Rutgers, winners of 18 of its last 21 games, earned its first No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament that begins Saturday at the Hartford Civic Center.
Liad Suez had 12 points for the Wildcats (17-10, 10-6), scoring just two in the second half.
Villanova has a recent history of knocking off Top 10 teams, including the No. 1 Huskies in last year's season finale and then-No. 4 Notre Dame last month.
Rutgers could never really pull away from the Wildcats, thought it hardly mattered. Cappie Pondexter scored six straight points for the Scarlet Knights late in the second half, helping push a four-point lead to 11.
Essence Carson had 10 rebounds for Rutgers, who had a 40-24 edge on the boards.