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Rutgers women's basketball defeats Hampton to end 3-game skid

Junior forward Chyna Cornwell's double-double helped pushed the Rutgers women's basketball team to a victory over Hampton.  – Photo by @RutgersWBB / Twitter

The Rutgers women’s basketball team ended a three-game losing streak with a 76-68 win over Hampton. The Scarlet Knights (5-7, 0-2) were led to victory by junior forward Chyna Cornwell as she recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The game opened up with both teams trading baskets before freshman guard Kaylene Smikle made Rutgers’ next two shots with two three-pointers. By the 4:18 mark of the first quarter, the Knights led the Pirates (3-7, 0-0) 10-6.

Graduate student guard Abby Streeter and senior guard Kai Carter made shots of their own from beyond the arc, and by the end of play in the first quarter, Rutgers had a 19-12 lead over Hampton.

The Pirates chipped away at the deficit in the second quarter. By the 7:24 mark of the quarter, two different Hampton players hit three successful three-pointers to make the score 24-21 with the Knights still ahead.

Freshman guard Antonia Bates hit a three, and Carter hit a jumper for Rutgers’ final points of the half. When the halftime buzzer sounded, the Knights led the Pirates 30-27.

By the 6:49 mark of the third quarter, Hampton was down by 1 point in a 32-31 game. Senior center Kassondra Brown hit a layup, but the Pirates tied the game up at 34 when guard Camryn Hill hit a three-point shot.

Madison Buford ended a 38-38 standstill with a three-pointer, but Rutgers stayed in the game. With just more than a minute remaining in the third quarter, junior guard Erica Lafayette drained a three and gave the Knights momentum headed into the final quarter of play as they led 49-43.

Rutgers held the line in the final period of play as the program outscored Hampton and had a pivotal 11-0 run that ran from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter.

"I thought we made a few substitutions, and we had a little more energy and connection on the floor," said head coach Coquese Washington in her postgame press conference. “The biggest key, though, was we got stops during that stretch. We got stops, and then, we were able to get going in transition, and that made all the difference for us. I think our confidence went a little higher after that stretch, and we were able to hold on for the win in the fourth quarter.”

Lafayette scored a career-high 19 points to lead the game, while freshman guard Kaylene Smikle made three successful shots from beyond the arc. The team combined for a total of 18 assists in a game, thanks to contributions from 5 out of 8 Knights.

"We’ve been talking about ... how we’re better when we share the ball, and we’re better when we find each other," Washington said. "So that’s been a point of emphasis for us in practice, and today we were able to capitalize on some of the miscues maybe that Hampton had."

Rutgers will tip off against in-state rival Princeton on Thursday at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus at 7 p.m. The game 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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