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Rutgers women's basketball scores season-opening win over Hofstra

Senior guard Awa Sidibe and junior forward Chyna Cornwell led Rutgers women's basketball to an opening-day win. – Photo by Rutgers W.Basketball / Twitter

The Rutgers women's basketball team won its opening matchup of the season with a 73-68 victory over Hofstra today at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus. First-year head coach Coquese Washington earned her first win as the head coach of the Scarlet Knights (1-0, 0-0) as all of the starting five players for Rutgers contributed toward double-digit points.

The end of the first quarter saw the Pride (0-1, 0-0) up 19-15 with Rosi Nicholson hitting two three-pointers and scoring a total of 8 points, and with 9:27 remaining in the second quarter, Hofstra was up 23-17. Just under a minute and a half later, graduate student guard Abby Streeter hit a three-pointer to make the score 23-22.

The Knights took their first lead of the quarter when freshman guard Kaylene Smikle hit a layup to make the score 25-23 in favor of the Knights with 6:09 left in the half.

Rutgers was able to get the edge over its opposing team by the end of the first half as it led 36-30 when the second quarter buzzer rang.

The Knights started the second half off with 6 unanswered points with the help of two baskets from senior guard Awa Sidibe. They were able to gain their largest lead of the day at 13 points after another Streeter three-pointer with 7:59 remaining in the third quarter. But when the quarter came to an end, the Pride narrowed the lead down to 1 point at 52-51.

Hofstra hit two three-pointers in offensive possessions shortly into the fourth quarter courtesy of Brandy Thomas. With 7:04 remaining, the score was knotted up at 59.

The score would remain that way until Smikle hit a pivotal shot with 5:27 remaining to give Rutgers a 62-59 lead. From then on, the Knights would hold off the Pride and earn their first victory of the season.

Sidibe and senior guard Kai Carter led Rutgers in points with 16 each. Sidibe also led the team in rebounds with nine. Junior guard Erica Lafayette led the teams in assists with five while junior forward Chyna Cornwell led the team in blocks with three.

In her first game with the team, Smikle made a huge impact off the bench when she gave the Knights the lead with her big three-point shot midway through the final quarter. The freshman also led the team with three steals.

As a team, Rutgers was able to hit 54.9 percent of its shots and 44.4 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.

The Knights next face off against Seton Hall on Friday at Jersey Mike’s Arena. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

For more updates on the Rutgers women's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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