No. 6 Rutgers Edges Out No. 11 California 56-51
Dec. 10, 2007
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Kia Vaughn had 13 points and 15 rebounds to help sixth-ranked Rutgers beat No. 11 California 56-51 on Monday night.
Matee Ajavon scored 15 points to lead Rutgers (7-2). Brittany Ray added 11 for the Scarlet Knights, who ended Cal's four-game winning streak.
Trailing 33-25 early in the second half, Cal went on a 13-4 run to take a 38-37 lead on Devanei Hampton's free throws with 13:47 left.
Hampton, the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year, played in her second game this season. She had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee on Nov. 9 that forced her to miss the Golden Bears' first eight games. Hampton returned on Saturday in Cal's 68-42 win at Princeton.
She finished with six points, playing just 19 minutes.
Down by one, Vaughn scored six of Rutgers' next eight points as the Scarlet Knights built a 45-40 advantage. Cal used a 5-2 spurt, capped by Gray-Lawson's 3-pointer, to close within 47-45 with 6:35 left.
But the Golden Bears couldn't regain the lead as neither team scored over the next three minutes until Essence Carson's jumper with 3:32 left gave Rutgers a four-point advantage. Epiphanny Prince followed with a layup to put the game away as Cal didn't get closer than four the rest of the way.
For the second straight game, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer didn't use her usual starters. Coming off a disappointing loss at Duke last Thursday night, Stringer had benched her starting five on Saturday in a 59-42 victory over Army.
'I thought the backups could set the tone for the game, and they did,' said Stringer after the win over Army. 'I thought I'd try something different.'
Stringer used the same strategy Monday night and the Bears could only build a 6-3 lead against the Scarlet Knights' reserves.
When the regular starters came in four minutes into the game, Rutgers took over.
Trailing 10-5 with 11:50 left in the first half, Rutgers went on a 19-2 run over the next four minutes to take a 24-12 advantage on Ray's 3-pointer. The Scarlet Knights scored 14 straight points during the spurt, including eight by Ray and six by Ajavon, who had consecutive three-point plays.
Gray-Lawson's 3-pointer with 5:42 left in the half ended the 3 1/2-minute scoring drought for Cal to make it a nine-point game. Rutgers led 30-20 at the half.