PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 23, 2011) – Rutgers (16-11, 9-5 BIG EAST) junior forward Chelsey Lee (Miami, Fla.) scored a team-high 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Scarlet Knights used a second-half rally to move past BIG EAST opponent USF (10-18, 1-13 BIG EAST) 52-46 on Wednesday night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
Tough first half defense by USF forced the Rutgers offense to commit eight turnovers in the opening period, shooting just 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from the field and 14.3 percent (1-of-6) from beyond the arc. USF guard Andrea Smith scored 11 first-half points as the Bulls were able to take a nine point lead (28-19) into the break.
In the second half of action, the Scarlet Knights stormed out of the locker room, picked up the defensive intensity and surged back outscoring the Bulls 33-18 in the second frame. After leading by as many as 17 points with 17:11 remaining in the contest USF would be undone. Despite Smith’s game-high 20 points, USF finished the game on just 13.8 percent shooting (4-of-29) from the field.
The Scarlet Knights went on a (20-3) run at the 17:13 mark and took a one point lead (43-42) with 3:28 remaining in the game. Behind aggressive play and 12 second-half points from Lee, Rutgers outscored USF 30-12 in the paint and would not be denied the victory. Redshirt junior guard Khadijah Rushdan (Wilmington, Del.) contributed to the second-half rally, pouring in 14 points of her own and pulling down eight defensive boards.
The Scarlet Knights return to action in their final regular-season home game on Saturday, Feb. 26, in a 2 p.m. tip at the Louis Brown Athletic Center.
• Rutgers improves to 5-1 all-time against USF
• The Scarlet Knights are now 11-1 at home this season and 109-17 at the RAC since the 2002-03 season
• USF led by 17 with 17:11 left in the second half before RU came back and won. The 17 point deficit was the largest RU overcame for a win this season. The previous mark was a nine point comeback against George Washington on Jan. 3
• USF shot 13.8% (4-29) in the second half. It was the second lowest single half shooting percentage by an RU opponent this season. RU held Pacific to 13% (3-23) shooting in the first half on Nov. 26, 2010
• RU out-rebounded USF, 39-32. Marking the 12th time RU has out-rebounded their opponent on the season
• Rutgers improves to 7-0 on the season when holding an opponent under 50 points
• Chelsey Lee tallied a career-high 18 points topping her previous best mark of 17 points set against Georgetown in the BIG EAST Tournament last season
• Lee also scored in double figures for the 13th time this season and 22nd time in her career. RU is 15-7 when Lee scores 10+
• Khadijah Rushdan scored 18 points marking the fifth time in the past six games that Rushdan has scored 10+