It's been an entertaining first week of Rutgers Women's Basketball, full of ups and downs. Friday the 13th was unable to bring the Scarlet Knights any bad luck, as Rutgers marched into Philadelphia and pulled out a strong 78-65 victory over St. Joseph's in their season opener. Kahleah Copper had an outstanding performance, recording a career-high 30 points, including 3-for-3 from the three point line, and 10 rebounds. This performance earned Copper Big 10 Co-Player of the Week honors. Junior guard Tyler Scaife also put up huge numbers in the victory, with 24 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
Next, in a rematch of the 2015 NCAA Tournament First Round matchup, Rutgers faced off against in-state rival Seton Hall in South Orange. Unfortunately, Rutgers' offense was stifled by the Pirate defense, as the Scarlet Knights fell 77-49. Although Rutgers was able to pull within four, 32-28, at halftime, Seton Hall led by 20 or more points throughout the majority of the 4th quarter, in large part to their sharp shooting, with an impressive 11-of-24 (49%) from long range.
FINAL SCORE: Seton Hall 77, #RHoops 49- Scarlet Knights return home to host St. John's on Thursday at 7 p.m.— RU Women's Hoops (@RutgersWBB) November 17, 2015
Last night, Rutgers hosted former Big East rival, St. John's, in their home opener. St. John's got off to a hot 8-0 start, and despite an impressive offensive performance by Copper and Scaife, the Scarlet Knights trailed 34-24 at the half. Rutgers would fight to get back into the game throughout the second half, including a 25-13 performance in the 4th quarter. Despite their best efforts, their late game surge could not bring the W to the home crowd, as Rutgers suffered a disappointing loss, 69-62.
FINAL SCORE: St. John's 69, #RHoops 62 - Tyler Scaife 23 pts, 9-9 FT, Kahleah Copper 11 pts, Briyona Canty 11 pts— RU Women's Hoops (@RutgersWBB) November 20, 2015
Although Rutgers has gotten off to a 1-2 start, fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic moving forward. Copper continues to impress and prove herself as a dominant all around player. After being named Big 10 Co-Player of the Week, she had another solid game against St. John's, posting 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist in 40 minutes of play. Senior center Ariel Butts also made her first appearance of the season last night, setting her own career-high 11 rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Scaife, who I believe is the x-factor for this team's success, posted a game-high 23 points in the St. John's loss, along with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals. I've been extremely impressed with Scaife's play thus far this season, and am looking forward to seeing the combination of Scaife and Copper continue to wreak havoc in the Big 10 as the season progresses.
The team will host Temple Sunday in their next home game.