The Rutgers women's basketball team dominated in the scoring category in its 98-67 win over La Salle on Tuesday at Jersey Mike Arena's on Livingston campus. The Scarlet Knights (6-5, 0-0) passed the 90-point mark for the first time under head coach Coquese Washington.
Three-ball lifts Rutgers in opening half
Freshman guard Lisa Thompson started the scoring with a successful shot from deep to give Rutgers a lead it would not lose for the rest of the night.
In the first half, freshman guard Jillian Huerter went a perfect 4 for 4 from the three-point arc, with each shot extending the lead in the Knights' favor.
Sophomore guard Kaylene Smikle also joined the three-point party as Rutgers scored a combined 6-11 from long range in the first half. The Knights led the Explorers (3-5, 0-0) with a score of 47-36 at halftime.
After the game, Huerter spoke on why she was so effective from beyond the arc in the first and second quarters against La Salle.
"My teammates — they share the ball well," Huerter said. "We have some great passers on our team, so my teammates are setting me up and getting me in the best spot I can to knock them down."
Stat sheet dominance
In the second half, Rutgers outscored the Explorers 51-31 on the road to its 31-point victory.
The Knights led La Salle in rebounds, assists, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage. Rutgers' most notable stat was its nine turnovers.
"We talked about coming into this game playing with a high basketball IQ — making great decisions, making smart decisions, making the game easy for each other — and that's one of the things we did when you look at our assist-to-turnover numbers tonight," Washington said.
Six Knights scored in the double-digit range against the Explorers, with Smikle leading the pack once again with 21 points. Junior guard and forward Destiny Adams and Huerter followed closely behind their teammate with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
"When everybody brings their gifts to the table on game day, we can be pretty tough," Washington said.
Milestones for the Knights
Graduate student center Kassondra Brown reached a personal milestone when she notched her 1,000th point as a collegiate basketball player to give Rutgers an 83-56 lead over La Salle in the fourth quarter.
Brown finished the game with 12 points while corralling in six rebounds. The graduate student spoke about celebrating her achievement with her team.
"It means the world — especially the love I'm getting from my teammates," Brown said. "I've still got water dripping down from my forehead from them in the locker room."
Washington emphasized Brown's impact as a crucial player for the Knights.
"(Brown) means so much to this team," Washington said. "She's the heartbeat of that locker room. She came here last year, and what she's brought and added to this program can't be understated. So, for us to be a part of celebrating such a monumental accomplishment with her — it means everything to this program, and we're so happy for her."
The 98 points Rutgers scored against the Explorers on Tuesday night was the most it has scored in a game since Dec. 20, 2020, when it put up 99 points against Sacred Heart.
"Basketball is a fun game," Washington said. "Nights like tonight are when everybody can be their best, and everybody can show their gifts — those are the fun nights."
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