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Rutgers—Newark women's basketball opens up season with 1 win, 2 losses

The Rutgers—Newark women's basketball team won its opening game at the Golden Dome in Newark.  – Photo by @RUNewarkBase /

The Rutgers—Newark women's basketball team opened its season with a 69-51 victory over Cairn University, followed by a pair of losses in the Bridgewater Tip-Off Classic against Bridgewater College and Alvernia University.

The Scarlet Raiders (1-2, 0-0) met with the Highlanders (1-1, 0-0) in their first game of the season. It marked the first matchup of all time between the two.

In front of a crowd of 205 people at the Golden Dome in Newark, Rutgers was anchored by a strong defensive showing and a 32-point performance from senior guard Samiyah Horton.

The Raiders' defense stifled Cairn University early and often, as Rutgers' defense relied on a full-court press and 2-3 zone. Overall, the defense held the Highlanders to 25.8 percent shooting from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range.

The Raiders pulled away in the 18-point victory, but the offense was slowed at times by their 32 turnovers.

Head coach Stacey Townsend said the team played well, but she expects more consistency from her players.

"We definitely could have done a much better job of paying attention to detail," Townsend said. "We played well in spurts, but I don't think we played the way we should have the entire game."

Makayla Raines played well for Cairn University, leading the team with 26 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.

Townsend cautioned her squad on developing an over-reliance on Horton, who out-paced her teammates in points in the victory.

"We can't just rely on Samiyah to play and score her points," said Townsend. "Everybody's gotta contribute."

Rutgers also received contributions from sophomore forward Aliyah Sanchez who added 10 points and four rebounds off the bench.

Townsend commended Sanchez's consistent energy.

"Aliyah brings energy every time she comes on the floor for us," said Townsend.

The Raiders fell flat in their next two games in their attempt to build off their season-opening victory.

Rutgers lost to the Eagles (1-1, 0-0) by a score of 80-28. Senior forward Ebony Odom Barnes did her best to keep the team afloat, scoring 15 points.

The Raiders struggled on the offensive end, and after going down 19-2 in the first quarter, they never recovered.

Bridgewater exhibited a balanced attack, with eight players scoring at least 5 points. The Eagles were led in scoring by Abby Freeman with 11 points.

The following day, the Wolves (2-0, 0-0) bested Rutgers by a score of 81-49. Horton led the way for the Raiders with 22 points.

Rutgers had trouble containing Kayla Williams, who scored 20 points.

The Raiders will look to get back in the win column when it returns home to the Golden Dome on Friday to take on Brooklyn College.

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