PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- Kia Vaughn is giving Rutgers (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) an inside presence to go along with the Scarlet Knights' strong perimeter game, and that could spell big trouble for opponents this season.
The 6-foot-4 freshman center had career highs of 17 and 12 rebounds Friday night in Rutgers' 77-41 win over Old Dominion. Cappie Pondexter matched her season high with 26 points for the Scarlet Knights (7-0), who held Old Dominion (1-4) to two field
goals in the final 14 minutes of the first half en route to the easy win.
The consensus is that Vaughn, the Big East's preseason freshman of the year, can be Rutgers' first dominant inside threat since Tammy Sutton-Brown, who played on the 1999-2000 team that went to the Final Four. Against ODU, Vaughn backed up some of the hype by dominating the middle in her 24 minutes, shooting 8-for-12 from the floor and blocking three shots.
"It was fun to watch her," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We haven't had that inside game since Tammy. Kia's a more formidable person; she's a little more aggressive. It means a lot to her."
Vaughn scored 12 of her points in the first half during a 30-8 run that gave Rutgers a 37-16 lead. The Scarlet Knights led 40-18 at halftime, and the Lady Monarchs never got closer than 16 points in the second half as Pondexter went to work, scoring 19 of her
points after the intermission.
The combination of the fifth-year senior's perimeter game and driving ability with Vaughn's soft hands and commanding presence in the middle could bode well for the Scarlet Knights.
"This is only the beginning, because she's still got a lot to learn," said Pondexter. "It was great to see her get her first double-double."
Tish Lyons and Lawona Davis each scored 10 points to lead Old Dominion (1-4). The Lady Monarchs shot just 13-for-52 (25 percent), which included 1-for-13 from 3-point range. In its first four games, ODU shot 44 percent.
"When your top scorers aren't making shots, it's hard to win," coach Wendy Larry said.
Rutgers improved to 10-12 against ODU, and has won five of its last seven games against the Lady Monarchs.