PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Rutgers women’s basketball team (9-13, 3-7 B1G) used a total team effort to defeat Penn State (12-9, 3-7 B1G), 86-82, in overtime on Thursday night at Jersey Mike’s Arena, splitting the season series.
The contest was back-and-forth all night until Erica Lafayette made a jump shot at the end of the fourth from the wing to put Rutgers ahead by two. Penn State answered however, making a layup to send the game to overtime.
In extra time, Kai Carter and Awa Sidibe used free throws to put the Scarlet Knights up three. Freshman Antonia Bates rebounded a missed Penn State three-pointer and made one shot from the free throw line to seal the Scarlet Knights’ victory.
“We played hard and gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game in the fourth quarter,” said head coach Coquese Washington. “That is one of the things that we talk about, just giving ourselves a chance in the fourth quarter and see what happens, especially at home. I just thought that we had a tremendous effort.”
All eight Scarlet Knights scored in the win, with five reaching double-digits. Carter played a big role in the victory, tying her career-high 17 points and dishing out a career-high six assists. She also notched her 500th career rebound, recording eight total boards in the win.
“Kai became my favorite layup maker today,” teammate Erica Lafayette said. “It just feels good to see her really get into her element and be herself. Just do what she does. She knows what she does. She makes layups and she knows she can go to the rim. It is really good, and I believe in her. We all believe in her and I think that is helping her too, knowing that we all believe in her.”
Junior Chyna Cornwell recorded her seventh double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Another poost player in Kassondra Brown stepped up for Rutgers, recording nine points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Kaylene Smikle continued to provide strong offense for RU with 14 points, Abby Streeter gave the team a spark off the bench with her seven points. Lafayette and Sibide also chipped in 10 points apiece.
Rutgers outrebounded Penn State, 49-45, in the win. The Scarlet Knights scored 50 of their 86 points in the paint, and made 24 free throws.
How it Happened
- Smikle opened the game’s scoring with a layup. The two teams went on to trade points for the next two minutes before Penn State took a 9-6 lead on back-to-back jump shots.
- The Lady Lions continued on to take a 15-10 edge into a media timeout with 4:32 remaining in the first quarter. Penn State scored five straight points, before a Cornwell layup made to make the score 18-12.
- A Penn State three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Lady Lions a 23-12 lead entering the second quarter.
- The Scarlet Knights began the second period with an 8-0 scoring run, but a Penn State layup ended the spurt just before the halfway point. Bates secured a layup to keep Rutgers within three.
- Following a media timeout with 4:18 left in the half, Carter sank a pair of free throws. Penn State responded with a layup, but Cornwell put Rutgers back within one with five straight points. With 1:45 left in the first half, Rutgers trailed by just one point, 30-29.
- Cornwell continued to forge ahead for RU, giving Rutgers a 32-30 advantage with three straight points. Penn State took back the 33-32 lead into halftime after making a layup at the last-second.
- At the start of the third quarter, the teams exchanged scores once again. Penn State regain the lead with a three-point play, making the score 38-35. The Lady Lions used two quick layups to put themselves up five entering a 6:41 media timeout. Brown answered with two points out of the break.
- Smikle recorded a three-point play of her own to cut Penn State’s lead to two. Out of a media timeout, Sidibe made a pair of free throws, tying the game at 46-all.
- Streeter forced a Penn State timeout with two made layups. With 2:34 left in the third, Rutgers was up 54-52. A pair of makes at the charity stripe gave the Scarlet Knights a five-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.
- The Lady Lions began the fourth quarter scoring with a layup. Sidibe responded quickly with a field goal of her own. Streeter and Smikle followed it up with threes to put Rutgers up eight.
- With 4:42 left in the contest, the Scarlet Knights continued to stay ahead, 70-64. PSU closed the gap to four with a layup, but Sidibe brought it back to six with a pair of makes from the foul line.
- Rutgers took a timeout with three minutes left in the game. Out of the break, Cornwell used a second chance opportunity to put the Scarlet Knights up six. The teams continued to trade baskets, and Rutgers stayed up by five points with 1:22 to play.
- Penn State used a 6-0 run to tie the game with 40.4 seconds remaining, forcing a Rutgers’ timeout. Lafayette put the Scarlet Knights up two with a clutch jumper from the wing.
- A layup from the Lady Lions tied the game with 20 seconds remaining. At the end of regulation, the teams were locked at 78-78.
- Carter made a layup to begin the five minute overtime period, but Penn State answered with four straight points to go up two. A three-point play from Carter put Rutgers up by one point with just under two minutes to play.
- Rutgers forced a big Penn State turnover 23.6 remaining. Sidibe earned the foul and made one-of-two at the line.
- Carter made one shot from the charity stripe of her own, giving Rutgers a three-point edge with 13.4 to go. Bates rebounded a missed three by Penn State with 00.3 remaining. Bates was sent to the line as a personal foul was called on PSU, along with off-setting technical. Bates made one shot to make it a two-possession game and seal the 86-82 victory for the Scarlet Knights.
- Cornwell recorded her seventh double-double of the season and her third in Big Ten play. The junior is third in the conference in rebounds, with 193 total boards this season. She leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with 73.
- Smikle’s 14 points marks her 18th double figure outing of the campaign. The freshman is ninth in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 17.1 points a game.
- With a three-pointer in the contest, Smikle leads the team with 39 makes from behind the arc. She has hit at least one three in all but two games this season.
- For the 11th time this season, Rutgers had outrebounded their opponent. The Scarlet Knights grabbed four more rebounds than the opposition (49-45).
- Rutgers’ 15 assists marks the 15th contest they have collected double-digit helpers.
- Carter led the way with six assists, a career-high. She is second on the team in the category with 52 this season.
- Rutgers earned more points in the paint, 50-46, more second chance points, 16-11, and more bench points, 27-12, than Penn State.
- Rutgers 86 points is their second-highest total this season. Their highest mark came on November 13, when the team defeated NJIT.
- RU is 3-0 when five or more Scarlet Knights reach double-digit scoring.
Rutgers will face No. 6/6 Indiana on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on B1G+. The Scarlet Knights will return to Jersey Mike’s Arena to take on Wisconsin on Sunday, February 5 at 2 p.m. ET.