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WBB: Copper Leads Rutgers Past Wisconsin

Rutgers forward Khaleah Copper taking a shot against Wisconsin at the RAC on 1/7/16 - John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers forward Kahleah Copper taking a shot against Wisconsin at the RAC on 1/7/16 – John Jones, DoubleGSports

After losing a tight game on the road at Iowa on Monday, the Rutgers women’s basketball team returned back to their comfort zone – the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).

Behind Kahleah Copper’s fifth double-double of the season (19 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and two steals), Rutgers extended their home winning streak to seven, improving to 7-1 at home on the season with an 61-41 victory over Wisconsin last night.

What makes playing in Piscataway so special for the 11-4 overall, 2-1 in conference play squad that is 1-3 in opponents territory?

“I think we have a really great crowd and when we get the crowd behind us, it energizes us to play harder,” junior guard Tyler Scaife said after the game.

The dynamic duo of Copper and Scaife (17 points) put Rutgers over the top, along with tight defense that held Wisconsin (5-8, 1-2) to only 29 percent shooting for the game. After coming out of the locker room slow with an 11-2 hole to start the game that head coach C. Vivian Stringer said had a lot to do with deciding to start freshman point guard Khadaizha Sanders making only her second career start, Rutgers still took a 25-22 lead into halftime. At the start of the third quarter however, senior point guard Briyona Canty engineered a fast start with the Scarlet Knights opening the game up and taking control there after with an 11-2 run of their own capped by a Shrita Parker three-pointer. Canty added 11 points of her own – all in the second half.

Rutgers guard Briyona Canty looking on against Wisconsin on 1/7/16 - John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers guard Briyona Canty looking on against Wisconsin on 1/7/16 – John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers guard Tyler Scaife dribbling up court against Wisconsin at the RAC on 1/7/16 - John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers guard Tyler Scaife dribbling up court against Wisconsin at the RAC on 1/7/16 – John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer coaching up guard Shrita Parker - John Jones, DoubleGSports

Rutgers head coach C. Vivian Stringer coaching up guard Shrita Parker – John Jones, DoubleGSports

“Lately I haven’t really been hitting from behind arc, but I’ve been really working on it so I’m just going to keep working on it and do what I can do,” Parker said regarding her three point shots.

The Scarlet Knights outscored the Badgers 36-19 in the second half. For the game, Rutgers shot 41 percent, and dominated in bench points (18-0) and rebounds (43-35). The Knights also took care of the ball with only four turnovers compared to 12 for Wisconsin and shared the ball totaling 13 assists.

At the midpoint of the season now, Stringer was asked to reflect on her team.

“We continue to make steady improvement,” Stringer said. “I think we’re pretty consistent in being able to pick up what motivates and drives us. We have the ability within ourselves to push each other.”

Up next, the Scarlet Knights have a stiff test as they travel out to Columbus on Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. tip to take on No. 5 Ohio State and Big Ten leading scorer Kelsey Mitchell (24.6 points per game).

“We’re just ready to come out here and compete,” Copper said. Despite the high-ranking for the Buckeyes, Copper said they “are just a team not in a Rutgers jersey”.

 

@ChrisWasky

httpss://twitter.com/RutgersWBB/status/685489498885459968

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