- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - Rutgers knew it would be very hard to beat top-ranked UConn with its senior point guard sitting injured on the bench.

When her replacement went down, the job became impossible.

Rutgers guard Tyler Scaife scored 16 points and Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney each had 11, but the eighth-seeded Scarlet Knights (23-10) lost to UConn 91-55 on Monday night.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 23 points to lead the Huskies (34-1), who won their 14th straight over their former Big East rivals.

Moriah Jefferson added 19 points and Morgan Tuck had 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Huskies who are trying to win their 10th national championship and third in row.

UConn had a 20-point lead at the half and ran away from Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights lost guard Briyona Canty to a knee injury less than two minutes into the second half.

The junior twisted her left knee while coming down from a layup attempt. She was starting in place of Big Ten defensive player of the year Syessence Davis, who tore her left MCL in the Big Ten Tournament.

“So now all of the sudden you have to put a freshman in there,” said Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer. “That meant that Betnijah (Laney) has to go off her shooting role and she becomes a point guard. It just was a big collapse.”

Mosqueda-Lewis hit one of her five 3-pointers to cap a 14-2 run over the first five minutes of the second half and put the game out of reach.

The Huskies led by as many as 41 and shot 48 percent from the field, while holding the Scarlet Knights to 34 percent.

The injured Davis came in for Rutgers to be on the court for the final minute of her career. She took a shot, but missed it.

The injuries “took away two point guards that have a lot of experience,” Laney said. “You need that experience, especially in games like this.”

“We all tried,” she added. “It just wasn’t enough.”

Rutgers led just once, at 2-0.

UConn star Breanna Stewart played just 23 minutes after picking up two fouls, 12 seconds apart, just four minutes into the game. She finished with eight points.

But Rutgers had its own foul trouble. Ariel Butts and Canty each picked up three fouls in the first half, and Copper picked up her third less than a minute into the second half.

A 6-0 run Rutgers run made it 21-16 and forced a UConn timeout. Mosqueda Lewis hit a pair of 3s and had eight points during a 14-2 run that pushed the lead back to 35-18

The senior, who had just two points in UConn’s first-round game, had 16 at halftime and UConn had a 51-31 lead.

“I definitely didn’t want to have the same game that I had on Saturday,” she said. “I wanted to make sure I had more of an impact, whether it was defensively or offensively.”

UConn is now 34-6 all-time against Rutgers and has won the last 14 meetings between the former Big East rivals, dating back to February, 2008.

Rutgers stayed closer than many. UConn has beaten 18 opponents by 40 or more this season, and have an average margin of victory of more than 42 points.

TIP-INS

UConn: Coach Geno Auriemma (913) and Stringer (952) have combined for 1865 wins, the most ever by two coaches sharing the floor in an NCAA Tournament game…. Auriemma turned 61 on Monday and UConn improved to 11-1 on his birthday with the lone loss coming to North Carolina State in the 1998 regional final. The Huskies made Auriemma skip around the floor as they sang to him during Monday’s shoot-around. … Mosqueda-Lewis now needs just six 3-pointers to tie the NCAA Division I record of 392. She also needs just 11 points to Rebecca Lobo (2,133) into seventh place among program scorers.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights, who had a season-high seven 3-pointers in its 79-66 win over Seton Hall in the first round, hit just 1 of 9 on Monday. … Stringer missed out on collecting a $500,000 bonus for making the regional semifinals. Auriemma gets a month salary for making it to Albany, or just under $172,000.

UP NEXT:

UConn faces No. 5 seed Texas on March 28 in the regional semifinal in Albany. The Longhorns beat fourth-seeded California 73-70.

Rutgers season is over

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide