2:00 PM ET, December 11, 2005
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -- After five games in nine days, Rutgers was looking forward to a day off Monday.It probably won't happen after the Scarlet Knights (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) struggled to a 65-56 victory over Princeton on Sunday."I had given them tomorrow off," coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "But then I took that back."The Tigers (5-3) used a high-tempo defense to keep up with Rutgers (8-0), which came into the off a 77-41 win over Old Dominion on Friday. However, the Scarlet Knights found themselves in trouble when the Tigers went on a 15-6 run and took a 28-26 halftime lead."They had a great game plan, and their kids played well," Stringer said. "Princeton deserves a lot of credit, but I didn't think we were as sharp as we needed to be today."It was the second time this year that Rutgers trailed at the break, and it didn't look like things would get any better when the Tigers scored two baskets in the first 37 seconds of the second half.Rutgers came back, though, behind Cappie Pondexter, who scored 21 of her game-high 25 points after the break. She scored eight points to put Rutgers ahead, and the Scarlet Knights soon took the lead for good when she hit a three-point play with 7:27 left, igniting a 9-0 run as Princeton began to struggle from the floor."We needed a spark and I know that I can do that, so I wanted to bring as much energy as I could," said Pondexter, who also had four rebounds and three assists. She finished 7-for-14 from the floor and 9-for-9 from the free-throw line.Essence Carson added 14 points and seven rebounds for Rutgers, which hit nearly 48 percent of its shots in the second half and used a full-court press to force numerous turnovers. The defensive pressure also forced the Tigers to hurry most of their shots, and they were just 9-for-29 from the floor in the second half.Princeton was led by Becky Brown's 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Katy O'Brien added 14 points and Meagan Cowher had 13.