Khadijah Rushdan’s jumper with 4 seconds left wins it for Rutgers over Princeton
By ADRIAN FEDKIW
For the Trentonian
PISCATAWAY — Khadijah Rushdan’s jumper with four seconds remaining gave Rutgers their first win of the season in a thrilling 54-53 win over in-state rival Princeton.
Rutgers got off to a quick start, as they led 35-22 at halftime. The Lady Tigers charged back with a 16-2 run in the second half to take a 42-41 advantage with 11:05 remaining. From there, both teams rode the see-saw. The lead exchanged four times in the final three minutes.
Princeton guard Addie Mucir delivered the intitial blow in the final minutes with a three off the left wing to give the Lady Tigers a 51-49 lead with 3:02 to go.
Sophomore center Monique Oliver would answer right back with an old fashioned three point play as she put back her own miss inside the paint.
With 1:13 to go, junior guard Lauren Edwards swung the pendullum back on Princeton’s side. She made a nice move on the left baseline, got inside, and scored to make it 53-52 Tigers.
Then pandamonium broke out at the RAC with Rushdan’s game winner.
“She was going to take a drive if they backed off,” said head coach Vivian Stringer. “So she (Rushdan) said do you want me to drive, I said yeah. If it’s there then drive, if not then stop it and pop it.”
The junior 5-9 guard Rushdan led all scorers with 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting. She was perfect at the foul line, hitting on all five of her free throw attempts.
Junior forward Chelsey Lee led all rebounders with eight. She scored 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting.
Once again, Rutgers got off to a flying start. Lee explained what Rutgers needs to do moving forward coming out of the locker room after intermission.
“We have the reputation of being a first half team.” said Lee. “We have to learn to carry out the energy from the first half over to the second half. We seem to die down and let up a little bit.”
Sophomore 5-7 guard Erica Wheeler had a rough night with seven turnovers and eight points. She has provided a scoring spark off the bench for the Scarlet Knights. She came into the game as Rutgers leading scorer averaging 16.0 points per game.
“She’s not concerned to start,” said Khadijah Rushdan. “She loves being that extra energy, that extra spark off the bench. I’m proud of her, and she’s been working hard. I’m not surprised.”
Rutgers has struggled on the glass coming. They’ve been out-rebounded by an average of twelve in their first two contests. They out-rebounded Princeton by just one, 35-34.
Lee recently changed her uniform number to no. 52 in honor of Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand.
“We came in together freshman year,” said Lee. “As freshman we lived together the whole summer and got to know each other pretty well. For the past two years, I made sure I talked to him after the (football) games. And every time we saw each other on campus we spoke.
Coming into this game, Princeton had won 21 consecutive games. Their last loss came, coincidentally, against Rutgers last year 60-50.
Rutgers avoided falling to 0-3 for the first time in program history. Rutgers moved to 15-1 all-time against Princeton. They’ve now won the past 14 meetings.