12:00 PM ET, January 30, 2005
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- The image of senior guard Chelsea Newton prone on the court early in the second half took away most of the enjoyment coach C. Vivian Stringer had after Rutgers (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) defeated West Virginia 70-49 on Sunday.Newton, who has started all 19 games, sustained a neck injury running into a pick with 16:33 left and had to be taken off the court on a stretcher."She has feeling in her arms and legs," Stringer said after Rutgers (15-4, 6-1 Big East) forced 12 straight West Virginia turnovers in an early 21-0 run to post a one-sided win. "We feel she is going to be all right. That's all we know now."Newton, who had to lie on the court for about 10 seconds before play was stopped, was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and released less than two hours later after being diagnosed with a mild concussion and strained muscles in her neck, Rutgers spokeswoman Heather Brocious said.Newton, who is averaging 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.2 steals, is listed as day-to-day on the injury report, Brocious said."Chelsea is the soul of the team, the fire of the team goes through her," Stringer said.Rutgers had a lot of contributors on Sunday.Michelle Campbell had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Cappie Pondexter added 16 points and freshman Essence Carson 13 as Rutgers tuned up for a showdown on Thursday at Connecticut (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP)."That's a big game for us," said Scarlet Knights senior guard Nikki Jett, who had eight assists and four steals. "We have a lot to prove. We plan to take that game."Meg Bulger had 19 points and Yolanda Paige 13 to lead West Virginia, which committed 18 of its season-high 29 turnovers in the first half. Bulger and Paige each had seven turnovers."I don't know if we were scared or what," West Virginia coach Mike Carey said."You can't have 18 turnovers in the first half and expect to win this ballgame," he added. "That set the tone early."The 49 points were a season low for the Mountaineers (12-7, 3-5), who have lost seven of their last 10 games. The previous low was 52 in a loss to Villanova on Jan. 23.West Virginia started the game well, getting a basket inside from Olayinka Sanni on its first possession. The Mountaineers didn't score again until Bulger's shot in the lane with 6:58 left in the half.In between the scores, Rutgers held West Virginia without a basket for almost 13 minutes and 19 possessions, including the stretch of 12 straight turnovers.Campbell was a major contributor early in the 21-0 run. She scored eight of the Scarlet Knights' first 12 points and forced Sanni to pick up two early fouls."We definitely had an advantage in the post," said Campbell, who was 9-of-13 from the field. "They had a lot of guards and we are quick and very athletic inside."Carson also had four points in the run that Pondexter capped with a 3-pointer for a 21-2 lead with 7:42 to play.Bulger scored seven straight points in an 18-10 spurt late in the first half that got West Virginia to within 31-20 at intermission. A layup at the start of the second half cut the margin to nine, but Carson hit two baskets and Pondexter made a 3-pointer to push the lead back to double figures.