WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rutgers broke out of its early season mini-doldrums in a big way, handing George Washington a rare home defeat that left coach Joe McKeown embarrassed.
Matee Ajavon made four of five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, and Kia Vaughn had 13 points and 12 rebounds Sunday night to lead the Scarlet Knights (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) to a 67-42 victory over the Colonials
(No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP).
The inside-outside threat of 6-foot-4 center Vaughn and the sharp-shooting Ajavon combined with a stifling defense to give last season's NCAA runner-up its first dominant performance of the season.
"It seemed like we were lost the first two games," Vaughn said. "And so we're back."
The Scarlet Knights (2-1) lost their opener to Stanford and were unimpressive in a win over Creighton, but they blew out George Washington (3-1) in the first half and ended the Colonials' 15-game home winning streak.
"We definitely needed a great effort," Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. "We needed to see how we could play. I've been kind of frustrated with the way they've been playing. It's been kind of sluggish. It's almost like we were afraid to play -- we want to hold on to where we were [last year]. It was great to see we could shut people down. We know we can -- we just hadn't done it."
The loss was George Washington's worst at home since an 88-57 defeat to Tennessee in November 2001. It was also the fewest points scored by the Colonials at the Smith Center since a 50-40 loss to West Virginia in 1983.
"I'm embarrassed by our effort," McKeown said. "And I promise you you're not going to see that again the rest of this year, or you'll see people changing uniforms very quickly. That's not us. That's not what we're all about. And again I apologize to the fans who came out because they were expecting to see a great game, and I hope they get a chance to come back because I still think they're going to see a great team at GW this year."
Rutgers contested nearly every shot in the first half, forcing the Colonials to miss 16 of their first 20 field goals. Vaughn helped limit Jessica Adair, a 6-foot-4 center who rarely leaves the paint, to 2-for-16 shooting. The Colonials shot 22 percent for the game.
"They made us work for every basket we got," said GW guard Kimberly Beck, who went 3-for-9 from the field. "They challenged us on defense and we didn't really respond very well, and they shut us down."
Vaughn's numbers weren't very good in Rutgers' first two games -- a combined 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting -- but her teammates seemed intent on getting her involved right away against the Colonials. She scored the game's first points, and her three-point play put the Scarlet Knights ahead 17-7 8 minutes into the game.
"We have got to get Kia involved early because she opens up everything else," Stringer said. "What we were focusing more on is giving her more touches. Even if she had missed, it would have been good for her to touch it."
When Vaughn wasn't making inside shots, Ajavon and Essence Carson were hitting jumpers. Ajavon, playing with a sore hamstring, was fouled while banking in a 3-pointer in the early minutes, and she converted the free throw for a four-point play. Carson made 3 of 5 3-pointers, part of the Rutgers' 7-for-12 performance from long range.
Rutgers led 36-19 at halftime, and Carson made three 3-pointers in a 20-0 run early in the second half to put the lead into the 30s.
Adair, Beck and Sarah-Jo Lawrence scored nine points apiece to lead the Colonials.
"Tonight was a kick in the stomach," McKeown said. "We've got to bounce back."