7:00 PM ET, January 3, 2006
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Rutgers issued a curt welcome to the Big East Conference to Cincinnati on Tuesday night.Michelle Campbell scored 21 points and the eighth-ranked Scarlet Knights ruined the Bearcats' conference debut with a 64-51 win.Cappie Pondexter added 16 points for Rutgers (10-1, 2-0), which shot 52 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers."We were 10-1 and playing with a lot of confidence. We wanted the kids to see the best team in the conference and see how it's going to be," Cincinnati coach Laurie Pirtle said.Anne Stephens scored 17 points for the Bearcats (10-2, 0-1), who moved from Conference USA. Freshman forward Michelle Jones had 10 points off the bench.Cincinnati had its seven-game winning streak snapped.Rutgers made nine of its first 10 shots to open up a seven-point lead with 11:30 left in the first half. Pondexter scored seven of her 11 first-half points during the surge.But the Scarlet Knights, the defending conference champions and preseason favorites, committed seven turnovers to help the Bearcats take a 33-28 lead at the break. Stephens scored Cincinnati's first six points, all off lob passes into the low post, and had 12 points in the first half."I went off," Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer said of her halftime reaction to the turnovers. "They were unforced turnovers, too. We were rushing the ball, or the people who were supposed to receive the ball weren't looking for it."The Scarlet Knights bounced back in the second half. Courtney Locke hit a 3-pointer to ignite a 17-5 run that gave Rutgers a 56-45 lead with 6:11 left.The Scarlet Knights have won two straight since being upset by Mississippi on Dec. 14.