Pondexter scores 18 for Rutgers


PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Cappie Pondexter had 18 points and
Rutgers upset a ranked team for the third time in less than a
month, defeating previously unbeaten Virginia Tech (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) 56-43
Wednesday night.

Dawn McCullouch added 13 points as the Scarlet Knights (8-4, 1-0
Big East) held Virginia Tech (12-1, 1-1) to a season-low point
total in winning their fifth straight game.

Rutgers beat then-No. 18 Ohio State on Sunday, and it defeated
then-No. 19 Texas Christian on Dec. 14. The Scarlet Knights' losses
have been to Texas Tech, LSU, Tennessee and Clemson. Only Clemson
is unranked.

Dawn Chriss had 14 points and Erin Gibson 11 for the Hokies, who
got very little from all-conference forward Ieva Kublina and point
guard Carrie Mason.

Kublina, averaging 13.9 points, had six -- all on first-half free
throws. She missed all seven shots from the floor.

Mason, averaging 11.9 points, did not score and had seven of the
team's 23 turnovers as Virginia Tech's second-best start to a
season ended. The Hokies, who were averaging 67.4 points and had
not scored fewer than 52, started the 1998-99 season with 18
straight wins.

McCullouch broke the game open in the second half, hitting three
3-pointers in an 18-9 spurt that turned a two-point lead into a
47-36 edge with 4:57 to play.

Rutgers led 27-24 in an opening half during which neither team
played well on offense.

Virginia Tech went more than 10 minutes without a basket in one
stretch, turning the ball over on nine of 12 possessions in one

The Scarlet Knights closed the half with a 9-4 run ignited by a
three-point play by Nikki Jett and fueled by two baskets by
Pondexter, who also had five assists and four rebounds.