St. Thomas was truly paradise for the Scarlet Knights, as they dominated the Paradise Jam in three straight wins to capture their third Paradise Jam title with a 54-43 victory over Green Bay in the finals.
The women started the tournament with a historic 75-51 win over Tulane. With this victory, head coach C. Vivian Stringer passed Theresa Grentz as the school's all-time leader in basketball victories. In her 21 seasons at Rutgers, Stringer holds a tremendous 435-218 record. Kahleah Copper also reached an incredible landmark in this win, as her 29 point effort moved her past Shawnetta Stewart for 15th all-time in scoring at Rutgers.
In their second game of the tournament, Rutgers faced off against a confident Virginia Cavaliers team that was previously unbeaten in the young 2015 season. Rutgers had a total team effort, with three players scoring in double digits, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 60-48 victory. Rutgers asserted their physical presence over the Cavs, as they dominated the boards to capture their largest rebounding margin of the season. Led by Copper, Ariel Butts, and Briyona Canty, all of whom grabbed 8 rebounds, Rutgers out hauled Virginia 38-28. Shrita Parker and Butts each reached their career highs in scoring as well, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Copper also continued to climb Rutgers all-time scoring list, passing former teammate Betnijah Laney for 14th place.
In their third and final game in the Paradise Jam, Rutgers faced their toughest test against Green Bay. Rutgers struggled with their shooting, starting the game just 1-of-6 from the floor, and found themselves down 18-9 with 7:04 left in the first half. However, by the 4th quarter, the Scarlet Knights were able to cut the deficit to 1, trailing 35-34. The ladies really turned it on in the 4th quarter, dominating 20-8 in the final period. Rutgers was ultimately able to come from behind and hold on to beat Green Bay, 54-43, for their first Paradise Jam title since 2009.
FINAL SCORE: #RHoops 54, Green Bay 43 - PARADISE JAM CHAMPIONS— RU Women's Hoops (@RutgersWBB) November 28, 2015
Copper continued her dominance throughout the tournament, averaging 23 points and 8 rebounds, as she shot a tremendous .628 from the floor. This play was enough to earn Paradise Jam Tournament MVP honors. Tyler Scaife, averaging 11 points and 3 assists, was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Here's our All Island Division team! Lauren Moses Kolby Morgan Kaili Lukan Tyler Scaife MVP: Kahleah Copper Congrats ladies!— Paradise Jam (@paradisejam) November 28, 2015
Rutgers will look to continue their hot streak, as they take on #13 Florida State in a B1G/ACC battle on Thursday night.